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November 8, 2017

The Taro camera stabilizer tracks your movement to keep you in the frame

by John_A

Amateur videographers are living in something of a golden age here in 2017. Not only do our cell phones double as 4K digital cameras, while drones let us shoot sweeping Hollywood-style vistas on a shoestring budget, but a new self-stabilizing camera tripod now promises to eliminate all signs of unintended shakiness from our footage — while permanently keeping its intended target in frame.

Called Taro, the so-called “automated camera mate” is a hands-free tracking stabilizer for smartphones and DSLR cameras, which uses infrared (IR) and artificial intelligence technology to follow moving targets and make sure that they never stray out of view. Just slap on an IR bracelet and Taro will keep its eye on you wherever you move — a bit like your own personal cameraperson or the world’s most intelligent selfie stick.

While it’s not the first hands-free stabilizer in the marketplace, Taro creator Hao Qian said he found others lacking in important ways, which he wanted to rectify. “After testing other stabilizers, we noticed they easily lose the target when shaded or moving fast,” Qian told Digital Trends. “This is due to the algorithms they use: Optical flow or tracking learning-detection. Both of these algorithms consume a lot of calculation capacity, so when working on smartphones, they usually calculate less than two times per second — which is why when there’s a fast-moving target, the algorithms simply can’t catch up. Taro can lock in on a target using its fast infrared tracking algorithm that performs 30 calculations per second, making it possible to track objects moving as fast as 50 miles per hour.”

Although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to put it through its paces, the results look promising. The software isn’t the only thing that is impressive, either; the hardware design of the device is pretty nifty, too — with three ultra-high torque, brushless motors that react rapidly to what is happening around them to provide a silky-smooth shooting experience.

If you want to get hold of a unit, you can pre-order Taro on Kickstarter, where a super early bird edition will set you back $229 — including a stabilizer, tracking module with infrared sensor, wristband, and USB charging cable. Shipping is set to take place in April.

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