One of the neat things about smartphones is the fact that when gadgets are designed to be used with them, those devices can make use of the phone's sensors and other electronics instead of incorporating their own. This, of course, means that those devices can thus be smaller and cheaper than would otherwise be possible. The Elephant Steady is a new motorized iPhone camera-stabilizing rig, that takes this approach.
Designed by Japanese tech firm Adplus, the Elephant Steady latches onto the back of an iPhone 4S or higher (or 5th-gen iPod touch) using a built-in holder. It also has a hard-wired 3.5-mm plug, that goes into the phone's headphone jack.
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Once the Elephant Steady is powered up and its accompanying app is launched, the iPhone's own processor and gyroscope come into play. As soon as any slight tilts or side-to-side movements of the phone are detected by the gyro, the processor instantaneously responds by triggering the Elephant's motor to move the phone correspondingly in the opposite direction, thus canceling out the initial movement.
Should users want to tilt the phone up or down, they can do so via a trigger on the Elephant Steady's handle. The device is powered by its own rechargeable lithium-ion battery, not by the phone.
Adplus is now raising production funds for the Elephant Steady, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$79 will get you one, when and if they're ready to go. The estimated retail price is $99.
Footage shot with it can be seen in the pitch video below.