Design of Mobile Rig for smartphone filming strikes balance between functionality and cost

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The Mobile Rig, which uses an innovative magnetic gimbal to help stabilisation for low weight devices, is a start-up design challenging products from established manufacturers with hefty price tags.

A success on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, its multifunctional design makes it ideal for anyone looking to shoot more professionally using a smartphone or GoPro, with better stabilisation, lighting and audio recordings.

The lead product designer for the project, Alex Kalogroulis, is a graduate from London’s Royal College of Art, currently lecturing at the RCA teaching future designers on the Innovation Design Engineering master’s course.

The miniRig and all its peripherals that add to the more professional filming abilities

He has worked on a wide variety of products, ranging from Underwater Sea Scooters to Smart Touch kitchen gadgets, to work with Sir Clive Sinclair on the A-Bike.

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With this design there is a balance struck between functionality, aesthetics and cost.

The process started with the desire to add lighting and a mic. The flexible LED ring light allows the user to get creative with light and shadow whilst the adjustable stabiliser helps you shoot in a smooth, cinematic style. The built-in tripod and microphone are the finishing touches.

Sketches were used to explore different arrangements on paper before test rigs were built using wood, tape and mocked up components.

An LED light was a component that needed to provide high levels of performance whilst remaining low cost to hit the target price point.

“By utilising the flexible gooseneck approach, we have developed something quite unique that opens up all sorts of new possibilities for photographers and videographers,” explains Kalogroulis.

Only once a clear idea was established of how the different elements could work together did the 3D modelling process start to create virtual parts from the 2D sketches, using SolidWorks.

Materialise Onsite was used to provide low cost, laser sintered, rapid prototyping services during the early stages of prototyping.

“For photography deadlines, next day SLA rapid prototyping allowed us to prepare fully functional models. Having a workshop in the studio also allowed us to machine precision components as they were needed,” adds Kalogroulis.

The final product has already reached doubled its intended goal on Kickstarter.