We credit the inventors of this gadget with furthering the art of the selfie. The Soloshot is a motorized tripod that keeps the camera you mount to it aimed at an armband you wear while surfing, skating or engaging in any manner of recklessness, so that you can later relive and critique your ride. Essentially, the five-foot-tall tripod performs as a robot cameraman—it tracks you up to 2,000 feet away and can pan 40 degrees a second, turning up to 360 degrees, but doesn’t allow you to control any camera functions like zoom or focus remotely. Once you’ve mounted a DSLR, phone or video camera to the standard quarter-inch screw and focused it, you press record and show off your skills as the ABS polymer enclosure rotates to keep you in frame. A bright green LED fires up when the base station is paired wirelessly with the shock- and waterproof armband (pictured, far right), so you know it’s honed in, and a rechargeable battery powers it up to five hours.
The unit is the brainchild of Chris Boyle and Scott Taylor, two surfing engineers who, along with a product developer, produced the unit with a 2012 crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. The unit has been an indie success: It’s now available at photo retailers nationwide. If you’re curious, check YouTube for clips produced by Soloshot users. While it seems that most are indeed filming action sports, it will be interesting to see what more innovative videographers and filmmakers dream up for this automated tripod.