While quadcopters may provide photojournalists with a great way of getting aerial shots, sometimes a ground-based method to the topic is more what’s required. For this reason, Indian startup Vanora Robots has developed a four-wheeled omnidirectional camera platform known only as Steve.
The thought behind Steve is that it will permit a camera to get into places where the user themselves can’t fit, isn’t easy going or will be in the way. This means, for example, that it could go beneath overhanging underbrush, part-way into narrow caves, near dangerous wildlife, or even up on a stage during a live performance.
Its articulated suspension system allows it to sneak over relatively rough terrain, besides because its wheels are omnidirectional, it’s able to go from side to side and rotate 360 degrees on the spot. Users control the device in real-time through an included radio remote control component.
A third-party DSLR, action camera, or other cameras – along with accessories such as a tripod head or gimbal– can be attached to a plate on top of the vehicle. Otherwise, the camera itself can preferably be positioned to a remotely-tilt able platform inside of Steve. A hole in the anterior allows the lens to peek out. As the vehicle has no camera of its own, if users want to see what things look like from its angle of view, their own camera has to be Wi-Fi-enabled.
It is powered by one or more removable batteries, with the full complement providing a claimed five hours of runtime.
Presently, Steve is the topic of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of £499 (about US$643) will get you one, when and if it achieves production. The intended retail price is £999 ($1,287).
Its maker, Krishnan Nambiar, tells us if that if the project is practical, a second more feature-packed version may trail in the middle of next year.