Sometimes you just need a robotic cameraman at your side and when you do, the Soloshot is the gadget for the task. Just set it up, strap on a wristband, turn on your video camera and go surf, bike or ski. As long as you’re within about 2,000 feet of the device, it will automatically track all of your movements and capture them for posterity (or your next YouTube hit).
At $299 on Amazon, this isn’t exactly a budget gadget and the first time I heard about it, I couldn’t quite fathom why it would be useful. I’m not exactly into extreme sports, after all, and you won’t see me on a ski slope anytime soon, either. After the company sent me a test unit, though, I have to admit that it’s actually a pretty cool machine.
The design is a bit reminiscent of the equipment you sometimes see surveyors use at the side of the road. It’s functional, sturdy and orange, but it won’t win an award for sleekness. More interesting than its looks, however, is that it actually works. The panning is surprisingly smooth, even as it closely tracks all your movements.
Here is a cool example video that’s pretty representative of the videos you can shoot with the unit:
The unit comes with a tripod, the base station and a wristband. Setting everything up is pretty straightforward. The base station can spin 360 degrees, making it pretty versatile for a number of sports. Because you supply your own camera, it also doesn’t try to zoom for you or do anything else fancy with the image. It’s worth noting, though, that while it tracks you across the horizon, it doesn’t actually tilt up or down.
The wristband is waterproof and should hold its charge for about five hours. You charge it right from the base station and the transmitter has a couple of LEDs that show the status of the unit. This transmitter, too, won’t win any design prizes anytime soon, but it, too, works just as advertised. It’s a bit on the bulky side, but the armband that holds it is comfortable enough that you’ll quickly forget about it.
While the company is mostly gearing its marketing to surfers and motorbikers, I could easily see some college or high school teams buying one or two of these to track players across the soccer or football field during practice.