If you got any questions about this project - ask!
What is The Grip? What is The Link?
The Grip is a kinetic controller for gimbals. It allows you to move the camera intuitively in real-time with your body movements. No complex configuration is required and there is no need to practice which is usually the case with classic RC devices. The stabilizers just points where you want it to point - it all comes to your arms position. Without any artificial barriers only your creativity is the limit of what you can achieve. This is the future of camera positioning.
The Link is basically an RC receiver module but thanks to some advanced electronics it can also serve as a transmitter. That means that using two Links allows you to build your own Grip. You can pair one of The Links with any piece of gear you can think of and control the other Link attached to your stabiliser - possibilites are endless! For even more awesomeness The Link features various advanced functions that will come in handy on different occasions.
Our system is compatible with every gimbal that can receive PWM or SBUS signal. The current list of compatible stabilisers is as follows:
- ACR The Plus (previously BeSteady ONE Plus)
- BeSteady ONE
- ACR The Beast (previously BeSteady FOUR)
- FreeFly MoVI M5
- FreeFly MoVI M10 (both versions)
- FreeFly MoVI M15
- DJI Ronin
- DJI ZenMuse Z15 family
- The Ghost V3
- BaseCam SBGC based gimbal with 8-bit or 32-bit CPU, with or without encoders, that has got S.BUS or PWM sockets
NOTICE: All the above device and brand names are owned by their respective owners. The names were used only for informational purposes.
If you are concerned if your gimbal is compatible with The Grip and The Link, check your User Manual if your device is equipped with PWM or SBUS connectivity. If your gimbal is based on SBGC / AlexMos technology you only need to have the remote socket on your main board and a few moments of configuration.
Such ambitious project requires ambitious, competent people. The Project Manager is Max Salamonowicz - director of BeSteady LTD responsible for both the idea behind these devices and their functionality. Max has already finished a successful KickStarter project - the BeSteady ONE gimbal - back in 2013. We cannot forget about Mariusz Zelazewski - the author of electronics and Adam Czapski - the programmer standing behind the sophisticated coding hidden in both devices. Of course this humble trio would not be able to get his project running without the supportive, experienced team of ACR Systems building all the gear.
How does it work?
The way it all works is very simple. Depending on the chosen signal mode transmitted to the gimbal you will work in either Speed or Angle Mode. The gimbal will receive input exactly as if it was receiving a normal RC signal and will perform movement in a given direction on a given angle. Before that happens, the devices (The Grip and The Link or two paired Links) shall estabilish a connection after the pairing procedure, negotiate the appropriate connection bandwitch and with the usage of clean signal (Angle Mode) or more advanced algorythms and MEMS sensors (Speed Mode) and prepare correct data to send over the link.
The Angle Mode will transfer the exact transmitter position to the gimbal to copy the exact angle. So if you point The Grip to 45 degrees on tilt axis, the gimbal will also move to 45 degrees position on tilt axis.
However, if you want to maintain the correct direction relation of both the transmitter and the receiver - you can use the Speed Mode. In this mode the gimbal will receive the data already processed by the transmitter & receiver combo and a set of gyroscopic, accelerator and magnetometric sensor will maintain the proper point of reference. In other words - the gimbal will face north when the transmitter faces north without the need for the gimbal itself to know where that north is.
Additionally the concern about having a rotation angle higher that 180 degrees in any direction is non-existent. In Angle Mode the gimbal always has the rotation limiter where the input signal rapidly changes its value. In Speed Mode the rotation will be total and multiplicative.
Thanks to this solution we avoid the problem of gimbal drift on any of the axes. Simply said, the gimbal does not have to know where the correct direction is. A connected Link will just gently and accurately direct it to the proper position. Such feature is very important, especially when working with multirotor drones and crane arms or during prolonged, continuous worktime.
Of course you can toggle the kinetic control on every axis separately. Many users will most likely use the Kinetic Pan + Tilt Follow to keep the horizon level on Roll axis but some of you may praise the freedom of movement where all 3 axis are kinetically controlled, giving you vastly creative approach to your shots.
Beside of that you may configure different 'Resolution' for each axis on The Grip. 100% Pan Resolution will give you 1:1 type of a rotation. 200% Pan Resolution will give you 1:2 type of a rotation - you will be much more precise. In this situation you will be able to be more accurate with narrow focal lengths, as your full 360 degree rotation is equal to half-turn 180 degree on gimbal. You may choose between 50%, 100%, 150% and 200% setting on The Grip - each axis with separate setting.
Neutral Pan starting position may be also changed. It may be exactly the same for host and client, but you may also add desired offset.
A typical setup includes either a pair of paired Links or The Grip and The Link. You will be able to add more The Link units to create a network, expand the functionality and gain access to advanced features.
- 1. The Grip (with an antenna and photo screw mount for feedback monitor)
- 2. USB Type-A to USB Mini-B cable (firmware upgrade)
- 3. SmallHD DC to 12V The Grip output cable (different cables will be available after Kickstarter)
- 4. The Link (preconfigured as client)
- 5. Power cable for power adapter (choose between UK, EU or US plug)
- 6. Power adapter (for The Grip charging )
- 7. Power cable for power adapter (connects power adapter to The Grip)
- 1. The Link (preconfigured as host)
- 2. The Link (preconfigured as client)
- 3. USB Type-A to USB Mini-B cable (charging and firmware upgrade)
- 4. USB Type-A to USB Mini-B cable (charging and firmware upgrade)
Difference between Double The Link and The Linked Grip
Each package consists one host device and one client device.
The Linked Grip: The Grip is host, The Link is client
Double The Link: first The Link is host, second The Link is client
You can program one link to send a signal to another Link (or multiple links!). Because each link includes motion detection and other fancy electronics you transform almost anything into an intuitive method for controlling your gimbal’s movement.
Can I turn kinetic follow for different axis?
Yes! You may use:
- only Tilt
- only Roll
- only Pan
- Tilt and Roll
- Tilt and Pan
- Pan and Roll
- Tilt, Pan and Roll
As we already cleared that up, the technology is rather simple in practical use. Whenever there is a use for common Remote Control solutions for a gimbal, The Grip and The Link can make their entry. The possibilities are pretty much endless:
- remote work with cranes, JIB arms,
- UAV / aerial filming & photography
- using gogles, such as FatShark or Oculus Rift with The Link on them to get the POV gimbal control according to your head movements,
- controlling the gimbal while moving in a vehicle: The Grip operator is safely framing the shots on the backseat while the gimbal carrier is another person in the car or the gimbal is attached to the outside of the vehicle
- controling one gimbal… with another gimbal (twin Links)
...and so much more!
The tech behind The Grip and The Link
A few words about the technology lurking inside:
- efficient 32-bit processors advanced MEMS sensors,
- 3-axial gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer,
- OLED screen, directional keyboard and speaker (only The Grip)
- the wireless transmision is compliant with EU and USA regulations, it works on 2.4 GHz frequency
- the casing and external parts are made of aluminum (The Grip), carbon (The Grip) and durable plastic material (The Link)
- the electronics, external parts, firmware and software are all made in the EU
- The Grip worktime (main system only) - 30+ hours
- The Grip worktime (powering a SmallHD AC7 monitor and Paralinx Arrow Plus receiver) - 100-150 minutes
- Auxillary power outputs on The Grip - 12V and 5V
- The Link worktime - 3 hours
- Range - 500+ meters in Line of Sight
- Readable angles - 360 degrees on each axis
- Embedded sensors - 3-axial gyro, 3-axial accelerometer, 3-axial magnetometer
- Kinetic Follow - on roll, tilt and pan axes, user selectable
- The Grip charging - via supplied power adapter
- The Link charging - via supplied Mini-USB cable from any smartphone/tablet charger or from laptop/computer
- The Grip powering - via Power Input or from internal battery
- The Link powering - via Mini-USB socket, via PWM or S.BUS socket or from internal battery
The Grip OLED screen, speaker and keyboard location:
The Grip connections:
- 1x power input 12V (it is also being used to charge intergrated battery)
- 3x power output 12V (for monitors, wireless video transmission etc)
- Kinetic Follow ON/OFF switch (puts 'Kinetic Follow' in sleep mode)
- ON/OFF switch (switches device on or off)
- Thumbstick connector (used to connect ACR The Thumbstick)
- (not mentioned on a infographic) 1/4" photo screw underneath main The Grip enclosure for feedback monitor mounting
- USB 5V (to power Paralinx Arrow Plus or other gadgets)
- Mini-USB (firmware change, service purposes)
The Link connectors:
- 6x PWM 3-pin sockets (6 separate channel connection)
- S.BUS 3-pin socket (single cable multichannel connection)
- Mini-USB (firmware change, service purposes)
- ON/OFF switch (switches device on or off)
- Client / Host switch (to switch between modes)
- 3-color LED (for checking range, connection status, current mode)
- Button (for setting up different modes and simple configuration)
- September 2014 - the idea was born and first notes as well as drawings were made
- February 2015 - preparations for the project finish line
- March 2015 - final testing and case studies
- April 2015 - NAB 2015 presentation of The Grip prototype, finalization of the hardware
- May 2015 - Kickstarter campaign, preparing for the production, final software touches, preparing for laser engraving and stickers
- June 2015 - first batch of production
- July 2015 - first batch of production ends, Early Backer and Limited Edition units are shipped
- August 2015 - shipping the second batch of completed units and shipping T-Shirts
- September 2015 - searching the Internet for #acrsys and #TheGrip hashtags, hitting the like buttons under your footage! ;-)
Risks and challenges
At this point we do not see any surprises that may come up with the software or the electronics - we are ready. The research & development phase is over and any following changes will just expand the functionality. What can affect the timeline of this project is mainly related to third parties, especially shipping companies and deliveries to certain countries (customs etc.) as well as component deliveries from our external contractors. That may always be the case and we take that into account having the experiences from the previous campaign. We take extra care to look after the schedule and will do whatever we can to keep the above timeline in effect. The Kickstarter page will be updated often to reflect current situation, provide news and keep you in the loop all the time. We want it to be successful and hassle-free as much as you do!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)