Awesome automated pan and tilt photography for iOS devices

The Motrr Galileo is a really cool pan and tilt head for the iPhone and iPod Touch

In a couple of the slides in a slideshow I recently wrote, 12 crazy good iOS photography apps, I mentioned that two of the apps (DMD Panorama and Timelapse) worked with the Motrr Galileo. Here's what you need to know about the Galileo: If you do any photography beyond happy snaps, you need one.

The result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Motrr Galileo is a beautifully made pan-and-tilt platform that works with the iPod Touch (4th generation), iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS is available for pre-order now and due to ship in October. A variant of Galileo that uses Bluetooth instead of the the standard Apple 30-pin connector and so can support the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 5th generation) will be available in October. 

The Motrr Galileo pan-and-tilt platform for iOS devices with the tilt head rotated to 90 degrees

Weighing only 7 ounces and just 2" by 3.25" when closed, the Galileo is capable of continuous 360˚ pan and 360˚ tilt rotation at 0.08 to 200 degrees per second. There's also a standard 0.25" screw socket on the underside so you can attach the Galileo to tripods and other mountings.

Very cleverly the Galileo was designed to have no physical controls so all you can do with the actual device is set the angle of tilt (anywhere from flat to 90 degrees), plug in the micro USB cable to charge it, and check the battery level by rotating the pan and tilt head and observing the battery symbol on the underside (if it's green, it's charged). Beautiful!

To use the Galileo you plug your iDevice into the "cup" on the top surface (inserts for iPhone 3, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch are included) and launch any of the apps that are Galileo compatible.

So far there is just a handful of Galileo compatible apps. These include:

  • Motrr (free) which provides what is essentially a subsection of the Apple App Store for Galileo apps as well as supporting upgrading the Galileo firmware. 
  • Motrr Live v1.1 (free) which allows a remote user to control your Galileo; they just swipe their screen and the Galileo will pan-and-tilt accordingly.
  • DMD Panorama ($1.99), as I noted in the slideshow is perhaps the best panorama app I've found so far. With the Motrr Galileo the iDevice's camera is automatically panned and takes photos which makes shooting panoramas incredibly easy. There's also an in-app purchase ($1.99) available to upgrade to HD.
  • Timelapse ($2.99) which I also reviewed in the slideshow does what you might guess, it produces excellent timelapse videos and with Galileo you can add pre-defined pan-and-tilt motion. 
  • AirBeam ($3.99) turns the iDevice plugged into a Galileo into a remotely controlled monitor with sound and full pan-and-tilt action that can watched by one or more iOS devices (also running AirBeam) simultaneously over WiFi at 720p and 30 fps. There's also an OS X viewing app and the app supports simple motion and audio detection. As with Motrr Live, control of pan-and-tilt when using an iOS device is by simply swiping the  remote screen and you can record the video stream on the remote controller.
  • RecoLive MultiCam ($4.99) makes it possible for someone to direct the operators of one or more iOS cameras and record from one or more of the video streams. Those iOS devices that are on Motrr Galileos can be panned and tilted by the director remotely, once again, by simply swiping the screen.

If you have an idea for an app for the Motrr Galileo check out the Motrr Developer's section. The free SDK allows you to connect to the Galileo, update the firmware, check the battery charge, select how many degrees to pan-and-tilt (note that this is all relative movement, the Galileo doesn't provide absolute positioning), and set the rotation rate.

Reasonably priced at $149.95 (shipping in October) the Motrr Galileo gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5. Outstanding.

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