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Tag Archives: cameras

Worried Mannequins In Store Windows Are Looking At You? They Could Be

Once the realm of the paranoid, fantasies about being spied upon by the mannequins in store windows has recently turned into a privacy-encroaching reality. The Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA makes a product called EyeSee, which is a mannequin with a camera embedded in one of its eyes. It watches the customers going through the store’s doors, feeds the data to facial-recognition software and analyses their characteristics to better target their service. For example, one store found that many shoppers that came in after 4 pm were Asian, so it assigned Chinese speaking staff at the entrance after that time.

Currently in use in three European countries as well as the US, it is deployed in stores like the Benetton Group, among others. And while the practice of using cameras to analyze customers’ appearances is not new, it was traditionally done from overhead cameras; Almax argues that the eye-level angles provide better data. Clearly the intentions are not nefarious and are aimed at providing a more tailored shopping experience, but the surreptitiousness of it has a few privacy critics alarmed. The question then becomes: should we still have a reasonable expectation of privacy while out shopping?

[ Bloomberg ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Spectacam Records The Action In Front, And In The Back

It’s never a bad idea to have a camera running when you are moving, whether it’s a dashcam in a car, or a helmet-mounted camera when you’re cycling. Not only is it fun to watch what you’ve done, but if there’s ever an accident, that’s some potentially important footage. Except of course it’s always footage of stuff in front of you. The Spectacam cycling cam seeks to change that by featuring two 1080p cameras mounted 180 degrees from each other. The small device is streamlined and mounts to the top of a helmet with velcro, then connects to a smartphone through WiFi. An included handlebar mount allows you to secure your phone in front of you and control what’s happening at the touch of a button. Being able to immediately see out of the cameras lets you adjust the shooting angle at each end of the Spectacam, to make sure you’re recording exactly what you want. The footage is stored in an SD card, and not on your phone. Battery life is said to be around 3 hours.

Currently a far-from-funded project on Kickstarter, a $200 pledge will get you in line for a May 2013 delivery.

[ Project Page ]

If You Really, Absolutely, Positively, Just Don’t Want To Use A dSLR

By David Ponce

The above product looks like it could be cool, until you start thinking about things in detail. It’s called the Phocus iPhone Case and it’s a rather large and rugged case that can ultimately be used with Nikon or Canon EOS lenses. It’s got a standard tripod thread so you can stabilize your newly created camera and take somewhat decent pictures. But we’re iffy on this and we’ll tell you why. First off, the standard case comes with its own lenses: $99 for wide angle and macro lenses, and $139 if you add a telephoto lens. But if you want to use your own dSLR lenses, you have to buy special 35mm adaptors: $220 for Canon lenses and $245 for Nikon. They’ll come with spacers so you can maintain the proper focal length. At this point, you’re $320 deep in the best case scenario, and that’s not even including the fancy lens. You don’t have electronic control over that lens either, which means the shutter is the iPhone’s. And the sensor… It’s… a really convoluted way of taking pictures when you could toss in a couple hundred dollars more and just buy a real camera. But hey, if you really, absolutely…. You get the idea.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Picosteady: A SteadyCam For your iPhone

By David Ponce

Mr. Blurrycam’s first cousin is Mr. Shakycam. They make for a fine pair as together they make up a sizeable portion of the pictures and videos found online. And while the Picosteady pictured above doesn’t help Mr. Blurrycam much (just learn to focus, already), Mr. Shakycam could be out of a job. A SteadyCam is usually an expensive piece of equipment that stabilizes cameras and allows for those smooth, gliding shots you see in movies. It’s not something that you typically use with an iPhone. But if this Kickstarter project is successful, you’ll be able to do just that. It’s got a pivoting handle and a counterweight and accommodates a range of cameras, not just the iPhone. And from sample videos they’ve provided, it seems to do a fine job indeed. It’s smaller than a lot of the higher-end rigs and probably does still require a fair amount of care on the part of the operator, but for the smaller, harder to eliminate vibrations, it’ll do just fine. It’s $139 on pre-order on Kickstarter, after which it’s expected to go up to $179 in retail.

Hit the jump for a video and links.

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Bicycle Rearview Camera Seems Like It Could Come In Handy

By David Ponce

Life is already pretty miserable for cyclists everywhere. Latte sipping motorists in needlessly large cars are way too busy texting to pay any attention to anything on the road. So any piece of technology that makes a cyclists’ life easier is fine by us. The above Bicycle Rearview Camera sends a live feed of whatever is behind you so that you can keep focused on what’s in front and to the sides. The camera connects to the TFT screen via a 78 3/4″ zip-tied cable that accommodates any frame geometry and the battery in the monitor should last 10 hours on a 2 hour charge. There’s a quick-release mechanism so you don’t have to fiddle around when it’s time to take it in with you and a circular pattern of red LEDs flash when the camera’s built-in sensor detects low-light conditions for visibility to traffic. Finally, yes, it’s weatherproof so you can even take it out in the rain.

It’s $179.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

The Kick Is A Full-Spectrum Camera Light That You Control With Your iPhone

By David Ponce

Taking good pictures, moving or otherwise, involves more than having an eye for composition and timing. It helps to have good equipment, and high on the list is proper lighting. The Kick is a small, full-spectrum light that is made to work specifically with your iPhone. So while you might not have the lens, sensor, steady cam, jib or anything else that good photography often calls for, being able to control the light in the way that The Kick allows will go a long way to making those iPhone shots look great. The application lets you pick any color you want and The Kick will reproduce it. And what’s even more impressive is that it can also do animated light. You can pick from some presets like Lightning, Fire or Cannon shots, or (and this is really cool) open up a video, pick a sampling spot on that video and The Kick will reproduce the light from that part of the video.

Of course you’re not limited to using The Kick with the iPhone; you’re free to bring out the professional rig and simply use the iPhone as a remote control for the light. It’s fairly small, about the size of an iPhone and normal use will drain the batter in 4 to 5 hours. There are two versions up for pre-order on Kickstarter, The Kick Plus at $149, and The Kick Basic at $99. The cheaper version lacks WiFi connectivity, and thus iPhone control.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Aviator Travel Jib Brings Big Budget Cinematography For Little Budget Cinematographers

By David Ponce

There’s a few things you can to do take your video from shaky-hand amateur to Indie-film-award good. One is to get your camera on rails, or even on wheels. But to kick things up even more, you need a jib. This is a counter-weighted arm that lets you move your camera around in the air in a smooth motion. Jibs however are usually really unwieldy, heavy and most of all, expensive. The Aviator Travel Jib you see above is none of those. Weighing in at 3.75 pounds and 24-inches compacted, the jib extends to 6 feet and can hold a camera weighing 6 pounds. It’s fully funded on Kickstarter now and to get it you need to pledge $400 to get the jib, ballast, mounting hardware and a bubble level, while students can get the jib alone for $300.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

The Bobber Keeps Your GoPro Floatin’

By David Ponce

Whenever a GoPro camera is involved you’ll see dudes flinging themselves down slopes on wheeled contraptions, face-first, for everyone’s recording enjoyment. Or underwater, scuba-free, wrestling a manatee. Fun as these are to watch, it’s possible that something happens to the protagonist. Or perhaps even more dramatically, to the GoPro. Should you for instance accidentally let go of it underwater, the little camera will plunge to some irretrievable depth, and you’ll likely cry. But if you’ve equipped it with the Bobber beforehand, it’ll just float back up to the surface where you can easily spot it and fetch it. It’s a buoyant handle that not only gives you a grip with which to hold the camera, but has enough floating power to take care of the weight of GoPro’s 3D system, or of cameras using the optional LCD or Battery BacPacs.

It’s $29.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Must Watch: $100k Camera Captures Wanton Destruction At 2,500 Fps

By David Ponce

The video below is geek pr0n, pure and simple. It’s called “Phantom Flex Highlights” and comes from the Danish show “Dumt & Farligt“. Shot using a Phantom Flex camera (hence the name) that can cost upwards of $100k, it features the kind of scenes that you could only ever really dream of seeing before; few people would ever spend the kind of money needed to puncture a waterbed filled with 4,000 litres of water just to see what it would look like in slow motion. Other highlights include putting a bottle of red wine in the microwave (holy crap!) and… well, just watch it. It’s awesome Friday fare.

VIA [ BoingBoing ]