Think of the special occasions in life you want to capture on video.
Like a birthday party, a trip to the beach, or a hike in the mountains.
Now think about the compromises you have to make to record those moments. Sure, the days of bulky cameras are mostly gone, and the cameras on smartphones can do an adequate job. But there’s still a compromise: for that moment you hold the camera up, you’re not participating fully in the experience. A piece of technology is separating you from the action. Your companions are no longer interacting with you, but with a camera.
That’s how Christopher Cox sees it, at least. He’s the founder and president of Pivothead, a Denver-area startup that’s trying to marry high-definition cameras, wireless technology, and mobile apps with comfortable glasses.
Cox’s point of view is simple: he thinks there’s a huge market for unobtrusive video recording devices waiting to be tapped. It could include parents who want a better way to capture special moments, companies that need to create instructional videos, and government agencies that need to record their work.
Despite potential competition from companies like Google and GoPro, Cox thinks Pivothead is the company that will capture this market. Why? Because he believes Pivothead has developed camera glasses that are easy to use, affordable, and stylish enough for the mass market, while also including enough high tech features to satisfy gadget lovers.
A Shift in Perspective
Pivothead makes glasses with tiny cameras built into the bridge above the nose. The Sony CMOS camera it uses can take 1080p high definition video as well as 8 megapixel photos, which are the same specs as the camera in the Apple iPhone 5s. The glasses also record audio.
When it comes to taking pictures or recording video, the $299 Pivotheads are like streamlined point-and-shoot cameras. Touching one button by the temple starts and stops recording, while the button next to it snaps a photo. The glasses connect to a computer via USB cable, and users can download their pictures and videos using a program similar to the PC software that comes with conventional digital cameras.
Owners can also buy an external “air sync” module that plugs into the USB port on the glasses and connects smartphone apps through Wi-Fi.
While other companies are building cameras into glasses, Cox says Pivothead is the only one making high-quality glasses with the camera placed at the center. Competitors like Google Glass place the camera above the temple.
The shift allows for direct eye contact in a way offset cameras don’t, Cox says.
“You’re looking into the person’s eyes, but they’re actually looking directly into the camera lens, so you end up with this very intimate footage,” he says.
And because wearing Pivotheads is just like wearing regular glasses, “you can catch very spontaneous things, and you can participate in the action hands-free,” Cox says. “You can be doing something, and be a participant. When you’re a cameraman, you’re a bystander.”
The latest models are comparable in size and weight to a pair of sunglasses, and they come with clear, tinted, and light-sensitive “transition” lenses. The glasses are prescription friendly, with lenses that can be removed and replaced.
From the side, Pivotheads look like they could be designer glasses. And while the camera is visible on the front, the glasses don’t look like something out of a sci-fi movie. Pivotheads are available in four models, with variations on the color of the lenses and the glasses.
Finding a Market
So who would buy Pivothead glasses? Cox says the company isn’t marketing to a specific age group, but to “people who want to share what they’re doing, either with their friends and family or to a wider public audience.”
In the consumer market, that could mean parents who want to record a video or create a digital photo album. It also could include teenagers who could use the Wi-Fi connectivity to upload photos and video to social media through Pivothead’s apps for Android and iOS.
Ultimately anyone who uses a point-and-shoot camera or … Next Page »
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