Arculus Onyx makes gimbals less gawky
If you shoot a lot of handheld video of extreme outdoor activities, then it's possible that you use a motorized camera-stabilizing gimbal. Such devices, however, typically don't offer much protection to the camera – or to themselves. That's why the enclosed-design Arculus Onyx was created.
Invented by New Zealand brothers Geoffrey and Jimmy Desborough, the Onyx features a lightweight laser-sintered (3D-printed) titanium skeleton clad in a carbon fiber shell, and is held by a pivoting wrap-around carbon fiber-tube handle.
Inside of the shell are a set of brushless motors that automatically pan, tilt and roll the user-supplied DSLR or video camera, in order to compensate for shakes and jiggles – cameras weighing up to 2 kg (4.4 lb) can be accommodated. The device is run by a built-in 32-bit control board, and powered by a total of four removable batteries that should be good for up to eight hours of use per charge. Its total weight, including batteries but not camera, is 1,280 g (2.8 lb).
Utilizing an app on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, users can set the Onyx to operate in different modes. These include Follow Pan, which smooths out panning movements; Follow Pan + Tilt, which smooths both pans and tilts while automatically keeping the horizon level; and Lock Axis, which allows the operator to focus on a specific subject with the pan, tilt and roll locked. It can also be used to shoot time-lapse and hyperlapse video.
Videographers who plan on being particularly rough with their gear can opt for the Onxy Protect model. It features an added layer of protective Poron polyurethane foam on the shell and handle, along with removable front and rear transparent polycarbonate domes for keeping the camera out of trouble.
Should you be interested, Geoffrey and Jimmy have turned to Kickstarter to finance production of the Onyx. A pledge of NZ$2,599 (about US$1,799) will get you the basic model – assuming all goes according to plans – which should ultimately have a retail price of NZ$3,699 (US$2,560). An extra NZ$299 (US$207) is required to upgrade to the Protect model.