Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Reflex Robotics named in “10 game-changing grad student startups”











May 19, 2016 — Santa Cruz, CA

[Editor’s note:The last time Santa Cruz Tech Beat published an article about Reflex Robotics, the team of students or alumni of UC Santa Cruz was headed to an international trade show in Germany. In this recent article, all of the startups are amazing, but for now, I’m skipping to the part about Reflex Robotics.]

Taking selfies to the extreme

Reflex-Robotics-Raven“There are so many selfies out there, but the coolest ones are where someone is doing something crazy like a backflip off a cliff,” said UC Santa Cruz electrical engineering grad student Enes Mentese.

Cameras like GoPro have made it possible — one might say almost mandatory — for extreme sports enthusiasts like Mentese to document their exploits.

But the wakeboard and snowboard enthusiast found his quest for killer footage took a lot of the fun out of his sports — and often resulted in video that was shaky and out-of-frame.

He decided to use his engineering skills for an ambitious undertaking: creating a robotic camera with a built-in stablization system that attaches to a GoPro and can ride shotgun on the user’s bike, board or helmet.

UC Santa Cruz computer vision grad student Seongdo Kim came on board to develop the software that allows the system to track an object as it moves and changes position, refocusing as needed.

The two have launched Reflex Robotics to commercialize their device. Called the Raven, it mimics the way raptors hone in and track their quarry while flying at top speed.

“If you have to worry about a camera, your attention is divided,” said Mentese. “If you commit 100 percent to the activity while you’re filming, you can do stuff that’s more creative and pushes the sport.”

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