Cameramen be warned – the SmartTripod is here, and it's gunning for your job. The Microsoft Robotics @Home competition winner may look comical, but it could replace human cameramen on film and TV sets, effortlessly tracking the actions of whoever it's programmed to follow.
The intelligent tripod uses a Kinect, Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, a laptop and a few other tit bits to make a humanlike camera-robot. It tracks its subject with Kinect, and even compensates for the inevitable tilt of its tripod when it moves.
And since the subject can control SmartTripod with one hand, it's possible to create shots even a pro would be hard pressed to spot as non-human. It makes for easy but professional looking videos, ideal for the army of uploaders putting guides on YouTube. It’s easy to see why this is the winner of the Robotics @Home contest – and who knows, Hollywood might come calling.
The inventor received a US$10,000 prize – so hopefully we’ll see a commercial version on the market soon.