Sports enthusiasts around the globe have long enlisted friends, family and even strangers to serve as amateur videographers. But even if you’re able to convince someone to invest the time and energy to help out, usable footage is never a guarantee. Now athletes ranging from professional surfers to little league soccer players can capture high quality video of themselves on their own, from a distance, thanks to SOLOSHOT, the most recent recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award.
SOLOSHOT is a two-piece cooperative object tracking system that combines with virtually any camera to track and film a moving subject from up to 2000 feet away. Simply mount a camera on the motorized base and slip the remote armband on. Once you’ve completed the simple pairing process, the SOLOSHOT remote and base units remain in radio communication allowing the SOLOSHOT base to automatically rotate to keep your camera pointed at you.
“SOLOSHOT began as a surfer’s dream,” says Soloshot, Inc. Founder and CEO, Chris Boyle. “Being able to set your camera up on the beach and head out into the break knowing that every wave and wipeout will be smoothly tracked and filmed is a great feeling.”
Both the SOLOSHOT remote and base feature rechargeable batteries that last more than five hours on a single charge and the waterproof remote is designed to handle demanding ocean environments. Boyle and Co-founder, Scott Taylor, both engineers, addressed security by designing an access point to lock the camera to the base and the included professional grade tripod can be locked to nearby fixed objects such as a tree or life guard stand. Additionally, the base features a bright feedback LED that lets you know the camera is pointing at you while you’re on the water or racing around the track.
“SOLOSHOT is a product with a ton of potential,” says Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “You can see its appeal to individual athletes but I can imagine coaches using it as a training tool, parents putting it to work at their child’s soccer games, and even documentary filmmakers getting creative with the technology.”
Like many Cool Idea! Award winners, the SOLOSHOT team first encountered Proto Labs when searching for a manufacturer that could provide reasonably priced parts in a hurry. “When you’re in the lab and excited about your progress, you don’t want to wait months for an injection molded part to show up,” says Alex Sammons, CTO of SOLOHSOT. “I don’t know of another company in the world that you can call and say, ‘I need injection molded or CNC-machined parts tomorrow.’ Their responsive customer service staff and shipping times are unmatched.”
SOLOSHOT joins a growing list of cutting-edge products that have received the Cool Idea! Award. Now in its second year, Cool Idea! is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. In 2012, Proto Labs expanded the program’s reach to include the European Union, and is now offering up to $250,000 of prototyping and short-run production services. For more information, visit www.protolabs.com/coolidea.