Apparently the internet really wants video spy glasses. ZionEyez, a Seattle startup recently offered to sell you a pair of their Eyez video recording glasses if you made a $150 donation to their KickStarter fund, and wow, did they get a good response. No wonder considering how awesome the promised specs are for Eyez. With their donation drive coming to an end, ZionEyez has raised $343,415 (more than six times their original goal of $55k) from 2106 donors. 1868 of those were like myself, who gave just enough to get a pair of the glasses when they are finally produced, essentially pre-ordering the product. Though we are all left wondering when that will be...I mean, they know how they're going to make these things, right? To assuage the fears, and stimulate the desires of their new donor/consumer base, ZionEyez recently released a video of their prototype. Check it out below. Joe Taylor, their head of tech development and former Flip Video engineer, makes a good pitch as to why the device should be possible, and soon. Still, my doubt is furiously fighting my excitement for this product, and I'm not sure which will win. I want to see a real fully functional prototype soon. Very soon.
To help demonstrate to their customers/donors what they're buying, ZionEyez shot this video with the same 720p camera that will be installed in the video recording glasses. Not bad quality at all, but I would be much happier if they shot the video with an actual pair of Eyez, not just the camera component.
I have two profoundly different takes on this video. Take one: "Ok, I can see how these components will work together, and I can see how they could fit well into the frame they've selected." Take two: "Wait, seriously? You don't even have a prototype yet? Not even a sloppy prototype? You're just showing me a bunch of parts and telling me you're going to make magic with them. WTF?"
Which take wins? Not sure yet. To be fair, the reason that ZionEyez, and any group really, goes through KickStarter is in order to raise capital to fund their research and production. Of course they don't have pairs of Eyez made yet. That's why they need our money - to help them bring the project to fruition. In fact, with more than six times as much funding as they originally asked for, I should be fairly confident that ZionEyez will be able to fulfill their promise of making thousands of Eyez at an affordable price.
So, everything is probably going according to plan...yet that plan may have to be adjusted and I think that's what really has me worried deep down. Here's the spec list for Eyez:
8GB Flash Memory
100% UVA/UVB clear and shaded removable lenses
720p HD Camera
Up to 3 hours of recording time
WiFi 802.11n/ Bluetooth 3.0
Micro USB charging port/ data transfer
....And it will be able to stream directly to your social network via your smart phone.
Amazing right? Who wouldn't want a pair of video recording glasses that could do all that for just $150? Only now, seeing how far ZionEyez has to go before they'll be able to make their first generation of Eyez, I realize that the spec list may be more of a wish list. If Taylor and his crew can't fit everything into the frame will they make the frame bigger (exceeding their 200 gram ceiling) or will they drop a spec or two? Much too early to say.
What I do know is that 1868+ people (on Kickstarter alone) are willing to wager $150 on a product they've never seen simply because it is so awesome. $343k+ isn't chump change. If/when ZionEyez actually produces a pair of Eyez it can show to people in person and demonstrate at trade shows we can probably expect an explosion of interest and sales.
Even if ZionEyez fails, I think we're looking at the turning point in the video recording trend. Previous video eyewear has been available in bulky goggles, or more expensive glasses. Those products, aimed largely at extreme outdoor sports and similar activities, work really well. Whether or not Eyez is the first product of its kind, it won't be the last. It looks like the internet is (more than) ready to buy video cameras you can wear inconspicuously if they're priced right. Bottomline, I think we're going to see Eyez or a product very much like it in the next year. Which means that in the two years or so, we're going to see a lot more casual recording of events on the fly. More sharing of those recordings on social networks, and more innovations in the tech, community, and commercialization surrounding that growing trend. In other words, we're getting closer to lifelogging taking off. Maybe it will be here in time for Christmas (as ZionEyez promised on KickStarter). Maybe it will take a little longer. Either way, it's much nearer than you think.
[image and video credits: ZionEyez]