Are you looking to take your iPhone photography to the next level? The Motrr Galileo can help you do that. Coupled with your iPhone and the right app, it can do some truly amazing things. The Galileo debuted 2 years ago as a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $700,000, and now it’s available for all to purchase.
What is it exactly? It may look like a simple iPhone dock, but looks can be deceiving. As described by Motrr, it is an iOS-controlled, robotic motion platform for iPhones and even iPod Touches. What that means is that once you dock your phone, the Galileo can rotate it in nearly every direction, enabling you to capture 360 degree spherical panoramas. (The technical specs are: 360˚ pan and tilt rotation, 0.08 – 200 deg/sec.)
In the box you’ll find the Galileo itself, 3 rubber adapters for the iPhone 4, 5 and iPod Touch 5th gen and a usb cable for charging. There is also a 30 pin version available for some older devices. While charging the unit is quite simple, the LED indicator only seems to tell you that there is “some” charge, not the percentage of charge left. This was a major annoyance since several times when we went out to test the unit it was dead on arrival or shortly thereafter. That having been said, when it is charged, it works wonderfully.
The Galileo uses Bluetooth to connect to your iPhone, however not through the iOS Setting as with other devices. Once you open a compatible app, all you need to do is rotate the lower ring of the device and it magically connects. Once that is done the app is ready to take over. It is really quite exciting to sit back and watch the device rotate and spin as it captures your image. One thing to note though, is that regardless of the app that you use, make sure that the Galileo is mounted on a flat, level surface. It’s amazing how being just slightly out of level can ruin a panorama. Perhaps a future version will include self leveling.
Of course, without the right app, all it does is look pretty on your desk. Thankfully there are a number of compatible apps available currently, a few for free, the rest being paid apps. You can see all those that are currently available on Motrr.com. We had an opportunity to test out the Galileo with 3 of them: DMD Panorama, Sphere and Timelapse.
DMD is an app I’ve used for years and combines well with the Galileo. It works well for simple 360 panoramas. Sphere is another awesome app, and coupled with the Galileo you can do amazing things. It will allow you to create a stunning, nearly complete spherical panorama. This app alone, makes buying the Galileo a must.
Timelapse on the other hand, is an incredibly intricate app which allows you to take time-lapse photography or simply to pre-program the Galileo to rotate and pan for filming video.
There are a number of other apps which allow you use the Galileo in a variety of ways. Airbeam and Presence help you to use it as a remotely accessible security cam. RecoLive Switcher and Collabracam will control and shoot video from multiple vantage points simultaneously. And Videography will automatically follow faces or motion to keep them in the center of the shot. And there are no doubt others on the way!
The Motrr Galileo is a really ingenious piece of tech. And it’s a lot of fun to use. If you enjoy taking panoramas or are looking to expand your videography skills, you need this. The device is priced at $149 with free shipping.
The Good: Amazing potential. Lots of compatible apps. Easy to use. Nice design. Comes with plenty of adapters and support for different i-devices.
The Bad: Difficult to gauge battery life.