3/17/2016 by Autumn Kelly
GoPro has long possessed a stranglehold on the action camera market. Now, two engineers with backgrounds at NASA, HP and Sikorsky Aircraft have created a brand-new action camera, called the Revl Arc, that's got what it takes to be the best GoPro contender yet.
“The foundation of everything, we believe, is stable footage,” Revl founder Eric Sanchez told iDigitalTimes.
One of the core advantages to the Revl Arc is it can mount to anything and stabilize automatically. Sanchez used double sided sticky tape to attach the shockproof Revl to the hubcap of a van and record a skateboard riding alongside. “So it's rotating, but the camera is stabilizing at the same speed,” Sanchez said.
That shot would be difficult to capture using a GoPro. “You would always have to worry about is it level, should I use some special other contraption like a GoPro stabilizer. That just shows you can mount it to anything, even a moving wheel and it will stabilize,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez and his team added a built-in motor and gyroscope to create the auto-stabilizing mechanism.
“The idea is that no matter where you have it, it always going to find the horizon line. It has a little motor inside,” Sanchez said. Aside from the hardware, the Revl has algorithms that automatically sort and tag the best moments of each recording session.
“The whole point of the company is to make it easier to capture and share moments,” Sanchez said.
One of the ways the Revl automatically sorts footage by calculating your heart rate. Pair a heart rate monitor with the Revl smartphone app and when you’re say, bungee jumping, the Revl will know when you were most excited.
“Knowing how the rotation went, what was the freefall, this data makes the video a lot richer,” Sanchez said.
The Revl can also edit to the g-force. “You’re snowboarding. You go on a ramp. You jump. Then you land. That's a series of accelerations. We can detect when you went off the ramp, how fast you were going, how long you were in the air and how hard you hit,” Sanchez said.
The speaker system also helps detect memorable moments. “All this data is super cool because you can put it on the video,” he adds. Overlay altitude, speed, and rotation stats from your adventure across the video.
The 4k video quality paired with the stabilizing feature, with the added bonus of auto editing, your video is ready to share with friends straight from the app, no post-production necessary.
“There is a video-hoarding epidemic,” Sanchez explains. “Good editing is really hard on the GoPro. You end up with hours and gigs of footage and you have to do it on the computer.”
The Revl Arc not only features a number of stand-out features that rival action cameras do not, it also looks significantly different than the GoPro as well.
“4k and a round size hasn't been done,” Revl Founder Eric Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he chose the round design because one main complaint about the GoPro is the bulkier body drags back, especially during extreme activities where you're going super fast.
“It’s such a balanced weight and it's easy to move so it doesn't take a lot of power to rotate. People think it's crazy to put a motor on the camera, but it's actually a good solution,” Sanchez said.
He explains that a square camera is easier to build, but the rounder camera took a little more creativity because it involves chopping up the insides into a series of different boards.
“It was a lot of work to get it into this shape, but totally worth it because we feel it's the best shape for a 4k camera,” he said.
The Revl Arc, like the GoPro, is also built for thrill seekers and rugged conditions. It’s waterproof up to 10 feet, but the company offers a dive housing so you can take the camera scuba diving. The Revl Arc can also be used on any GoPro mounts and harnesses.
When recording in 4K, the Revl Arc has about 90-minutes of uninterrupted recording time. Additionally, the camera can also film in slow-motion, just like the iPhone. For advanced users, the Revl app will make an Adobe Premiere file with the clips already sorted and identified. Stream your adventures live through the Revl app.
The project has been around for two years. Sanchez studied robotics and worked at Sikorsky Aircraft and HP. He wanted to do something more hands-on and decided to study industrial design and become an engineer. That's when he made the first Revl prototype, which he says was the size of a boot. He found a co-founder in Nelson Vasquez, who was working at NASA on the Orion space project at the time.
“We are going to continue developing the quick easy snap mounting systems and invest a lot of money into computer vision,” Sanchez said. The investment in computer vision will allow the Revl to find new ways to auto-calculate the best moments.
Revl just launched an early bird special pricing on Indiegogo for $379. Expect the first cameras to ship in December 2016.
Original Article on iDigitalTimes.