This is a great prototype for a stablization system for animation! I'm sure it could be productized and made into a profitable enterprise, perhaps using materials (metal or plastic) that would be a bit less clunky. There are a lot of options to stabilize video and most cameras have some basic stablization built in; there are also good harnesses that strap onto the camera person, but I hadn't seen a system like this for animation before. Surely, Lucas Arts has something like this in its shop.
Thanks for the insights Cab. I guess what I was really thinking about was now that he is going into version 2, there's likely to be feature additions and optimization of the existing design. It's always interesting to me to look at a design unfold over several iterations and get an understanding of the engineer's thought process throughout.
That $400 is the rough cost of the wood, motors, and control board. The software is free, and he's giving away his files for free right now.
You could estimate the additional cost for new features. Lets say you knew you wanted an arm with 2 axis control and a pan/tilt head on the end of it. You know you'll need 4 stepper motors and a wood frame. It isn't like a commercial system where you would also have an additional software module that would cost a small fortune.
While this is awesome, it isn't a business model. He's not making kits as a job. I think he's just offering to help people continue his hobby. if 5,000 people wanted them from him, he'd have to rethink some things in order to be able to support them all.
Very cool project. I'd love to see you publish details on his next generation device and some of hte trade-offs and decisions he's making, particularly if he plans to keep the price point at around $400.