The thought of watching a 2-hour university lecture shot on an iPhone is enough to induce sick-sickness in most of us. What if instead of shaky handheld video, the lecture was shot on a stable, robotic tripod?
Swivl is this exactly. Touted by its creators as your ‘personal cameraman’, the iPhone-ready mount tracks a target sensor which, if worn by an educator, could deliver the shake-free university videos that could act as a stepping stone towards a future of school where attendance isn’t mandatory.
The target sensor also doubles as a wireless microphone for Swivl, which is compatible with iOS devices. The mount is design to be used primarily with iPhones, and Swivl has created an app for iOS that allows for remote capture and audio recording.
That said, the mount can also hold a similarly-sized Android device, plus it has a standard tripod mount and can support the weight of a compact camera.
Those in this industry are calling this ‘flipped education’; a new learning paradigm where the core teaching materials can be pre-recorded and studied at a student’s own pace. This also frees up class time to focus on practical, experience-based learning.
This vision is supported by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Grishin who is investing US$500,000 in Swivl in an effort to make it classroom-ready. This money comes out of Grishin Robotics, an investment company with the lofty goal of “supporting personal robotics around the world”. You can almost here an army of them marching towards us now.
Of course, if all this talk of university lecture halls is giving you a case of the “who cares”, there are a number of other awesome uses for a Swivl robo-cameraman. You could clip the sensor to a toddler and record them as they crawl about your living room, for example.
Swivl is selling units now for US$199 plus shipping for international customers. It runs on AA batteries, but you can also fork out a bit extra for a travel adapter.