Amateur videographers are living in something of a golden age here in 2017. Not only do our cell phones double as 4K digital cameras, while drones let us shoot sweeping Hollywood-style vistas on a shoestring budget. Now, a new self-stabilizing camera tripod promises to eliminate all signs of unintended shakiness from our footage — while permanently keeping its intended target in frame.
Called Taro, this so-called “automated camera mate” is a hands-free tracking stabilizer for smartphones and DSLR cameras that uses infrared (IR) and artificial intelligence technology to follow moving targets and make sure that they never stray out of view. Just slap on an IR bracelet and Taro will keep its eye on you wherever you move — a bit like your own personal cameraperson or the world’s most intelligent selfie stick.
While it’s not the first hands-free stabilizer in the marketplace, Taro creator Hao Qian said he found others lacking in important ways he wanted to rectify. “After testing other stabilizers, we noticed they easily lose the target when shaded or moving fast,” Qian told Digital Trends. “This is due to the algorithms they use — ptical flow or tracking learning-detection. Both of these algorithms consume a lot of calculation capacity, so when working on smartphones, they usually calculate less than two times per second — which is why when there’s a fast-moving target, the algorithms simply can’t catch up. Taro can lock in on a target using its fast infrared tracking algorithm that performs 30 calculations per second, making it possible to track objects moving as fast as 50 miles per hour.”
The full Taro lineup, including the Taro T1 for smartphones, the Taro TX for DSLRs, and the Taro M1 infrared tracking module, is currently being demoed at CES 2018, giving folks the opportunity to put the company’s stabilizing claims to the test. The software isn’t the only thing that’s impressive, either — the hardware design of the device is pretty nifty, too — with three ultra-high torque brushless motors that react rapidly to what is happening around them to provide a silky-smooth shooting experience.
If you want to get hold of a unit, you can pre-order Taro on the company website, with products set for delivery in April 2018. The Taro T1 for smartphones is priced at $199, the Taro TX for DSLRs is priced at $599, and the Taro M1 infrared tracking module is priced at $99.
Update: Added Taro pricing and availability announced during CES debut.