With their built-in cameras, microphones and speakers, iPhones can be very handy for video conferencing. Should you be trying to talk to a boardroom full of people through a phone that’s propped up on the table, however, it can be kind of frustrating – you’re stuck with the stationary shot provided by the phone, and can’t see people who are outside of that shot unless you get someone to move the phone for you. Well, that’s where Galileo comes in. It’s a motorized iPhone holder, that allows a remote user to pan or tilt the phone 360 degrees.

Galileo is the brainchild of Josh Guyot and JoeBen Bevirt, who previously brought us the popular Gorillapod flexible tripod. Guyot came up with the idea for this latest device when he was trying to have video chats with his son, while away from home.

To use Galileo, the person receiving the video call would place their phone in the device. The person making the call could then use their iPhone, iPad or web browser to pan or tilt the device, using a touchscreen interface or their mouse.

Because it provides smooth, motorized 360-degree pans and tilts, however, Galileo could also find use with film-makers. Guyot and Bevirt are currently working on apps that would allow users to program the device to perform complex movements, including ultra-slow ones that could be used for time-lapse videography. A Bluetooth-controlled mount for a GoPro HERO camera is also planned.

Other potential uses include baby monitoring, distance learning, or real estate photography. It includes a software developers kit, so users can incorporate the device into existing apps, or create new apps around it.

Power is provided through a USB cable, or by the onboard rechargeable lithium-ion battery – anywhere between two to eight hours of use per charge is possible, depending on the activity. Like just about everything else that an iPhone can be plugged into, Galileo also serves as a charging dock for the phone.

Guyot and Bevirt are presently raising funds on Kickstarter for the commercial development of their product. They have already exceeded their funding goal, however, so it looks like it should be a go. Pledges can still be made, with a minimum contribution of US$85 getting you a Galileo once they’re shipping. The estimated retail price is $129.95.

The device can be seen in action in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter via Cool Hunting