Next-Gen iPhone Dock Offers Robotic Motion, Exciting Platform Potential
In April 2012, an ambitious Kickstarter project made headlines for exceeding its $100,000 funding goal by more than half a million dollars. The project was Galileo, an iOS-controlled, robotic motion platform for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The brainchild of Motrr team Josh Guyot and JoeBen Bevirt, the guys behind Joby and Guyot Designs, the dock certainly captured the imagination of the Kickstarter community, with more than 5,000 backers getting involved.
The Galileo isn’t just a high-end iOS dock though, it’s due to be an entire platform. With apps already in the works and a software development kit due soon, we file the project under “one to watch,” with exciting potential for video conferencing, photography, videography and social networking. To find out more we spoke to one of the founders.
Q&A with Josh Guyot, Co-Founder and Creator of the Galileo
How did the idea for the Galileo iPhone Dock come about?
The idea came out of the need to have better conversations and communication with the ones you love or work with over long distances. The ability to remotely change your point of view brings you closer and helps you feel more connected and part of the conversation. It’s as if you are able to put peek your head through the screen and look around. It’s a very powerful experience.
Do you think good product design could be seen as problem solving?
Absolutely. I believe in only designing products that solve a problem, are functional, simple for the end user, and will bring a smile to that user.
How did the Dock’s design evolve as it went from concept to product?
The design early on had many different forms, from the very complex to extremely simple. They were all trying to have the most functionality while at the same time being very simple and small. We wanted a product that could be used in either portrait or landscape modes, would be as compact as possible and was simple mechanically. Eventually I came up with the current form factor of the 45-degree rotation axis, which filled all of requirements.
Why did you choose Kickstarter to launch the Dock?
We felt Kickstarter was a perfect fit for several reasons, such as its high concentration of tech-savvy and early adopter members. It is also a perfect place to build awareness of the product. Within the first few days, we had such incredible coverage from blogs, web channels and tech and photography. It’s hard to get that amount of coverage that quickly on your own.
Another reason was that while we had some funding we would need much more to bring Galileo to market. Going to regular investors would have meant giving up a large part of the company and possibly our vision. Kickstarter gave us a way to get funding, supporters, media coverage and fantastic feedback from backers; all without giving up any of the company or vision.
You are planning to release an SDK for the dock. What do you see as the potential for the platform?
We see tremendous potential for Galileo in many different areas, including time-lapse photography, cinematography, baby and home monitoring, video chat, object and face tracking, event photography and cinematography, and panoramic and spherical image capture. What excites us the most about Galileo and the SDK is what we haven’t thought of yet. We can’t wait to see the ideas and uses people will come up with for Galileo.
What advice would you give aspiring product designers?
Stay true to the essence of the idea you’re designing around. It is very easy to lose sight of that spark and idea that set you on the design path or tangent you’re on. Frequently step back from your project and suspend all of the hard work you’ve done, mentally strip it all down, then try to look at the essence of the idea in a completely different way. Stand on your head, if needed. Clear your head of all of your assumptions and the decisions you’ve made up to that point. Inspiration will come.
July 31, 2012