Polish robotic specialist See Robotics has unveiled a camera robot dubbed Billy, which the company claims uses the power of artificial intelligence to wander around the room — taking the perfect shots all the while.
"I've often struggled with making video content on my own," company founder Marcin Menet explains. "Since I like to be independent, I came up with the idea that the ideal solution is a robot following me with a camera. This is how Billy AI the camera operator was born."
Billy is, for all intents and purposes, a cross between a camera mount and a Roomba. The user's smartphone, or larger camera in the more flexible Billy Pro, is installed on top of a motorised base which gives it freedom of movement — on smooth surfaces, at least.
As the target moves around the room, Billy turns to follow them - keeping them in the frame using face recognition to pick a person out of their surroundings. The motion can be overridden and manually controlled, too, allowing for orbital or tracking shots.
The company claims Billy can run for around 10 hours per charge of its integrated 48Wh battery and is "ultra-quiet" so as not to disturb filming. The smartphone-focused Billy includes an extendable boom and built-in ring lamp, while the Billy Pro aims at digital SLR users and has an adjustable jib with twice the carrying capacity at just over 13lbs.
See is funding production of the Billy family via Kickstarter, with physical rewards starting at €329 (around $390) for "hyper early bird" backers.