Connected Objects Imaging News

Smartphone cameras rise up to conquer the DSLR with the Light L16

editors-choiceThe power of high-quality photography has never been in the hands of so many. But for all the incredible progress that smartphone cameras have made, there’s still a wide gulf between the tools pros use and those in most people’s pockets. Indeed, even if DSLRs were cheap and simple, their size would make carrying around most places prohibitive.

Light is seeking to take on some of those issues with its first camera dubbed the L16. It is so-named for the 16 smartphone-class imaging  modules in its Swiss cheese-like frame. When the Android device’s shutter is pressed, the camera uses 10 of those lenses to capture images up to an amazing 52 megapixels at a range of zoom levels. By taking photos at different exposures, The L16 takes exceptional low light photos according to the company. It can also perform some of the same tricks at the Lytro cameras, notably adjusting the focus after the photo is taken.

News may make Indiegogo easier to navigate

Indiegogo’s launch of, a personal fundraising site in the spirit of GoFundMe, continues the work that the company started with Indiegogo Life. Much of the focus of the site has been around the lower fee structures that Generosity campaigns will have to pay. That’s a big plus for some of the truly needy cases that would take advantage of the site.

However, in true karmic fashion. Generosity could wind up giving back to its parent site. As an open platform, Indiegogo has never banned personal charity campaigns from its flagship site. And while that has resulted in some relatively good exposure for those campaigns, they often are not necessarily the kinds of projects that Indiegogo backers are interested in funding when they seek out categories such as Tech and Design. By guiding those campaigns over to Generosity, it clears the field for projects that are more of interest to early adopters than philanthropists.



Kickstarter becomes a Public Benefit Corporation

For a long time, Kickstarter’s founders expressed that they had no interest in selling the company and that they wanted Kickstarter to be a public trust somewhat like Craigslist (but without the religious aversion to graphics in the site interface). While Craigslist keeps its finances notoriously close to its vest, though, Kickstarter has been quite transparent about its metrics.

Now Kickstarter has codified its public interest by becoming a Public Benefit Corporation. In a nutshell, that means the company must consider its public good alongside of and sometimes ahead of maximizing profit. This includes measures such as charity, transparency, avoiding tax loopholes and running an ecologically conscious company — a better defined set of obligations than Google’s famous “Don’t be evil.” unofficial motto. One aspect of the new structure that will directly benefit backers is

Kickstarter no doubt has good intentions and has been a great resource for creators, but it — like Indiegogo — has had its feet held to the fire for projects that have not come to fruition and the steps it has taken or avoided to try and resolve such costly disappointments for consumers.  For now, the FTC has started going after the creators themselves when fraud is suspected. But Indiegogo has recently experimented with insurance that backers can buy to protect themselves against projects failing. Hopefully, Kickstarter’s company’s stepping up its commitment to do good will inspire it to find better ways to protect consumers.


Quirky files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as Wink smart home system goes up for grabs

Before Kickstarter emerged as the leading hub of crowdfunded devices, there was Quirky, a company devoted to reinventing invention. Founded by Ben Kaufman, who had previously founded the Mophie accessories company best known for its iPhone snap-on batteries.

Quirky has a model that is in some ways the opposite of Kickstarter’s or Indiegogo’s. Rather than have the crowd fund a product and have inventors create it, Quicky’s model was that the crowd would suggest products and then Quirky would create it. The company’s New York offices were a hub of professionals specializing in all aspects of product creation including marketing, legal, sourcing, branding and industrial and mechanical design. Inventors would get a perpetual royalty on designs that became products, and people who suggested product names and other attributes would also receive a small percentage. Quirky staff voted on which products moved forward in a weekly meeting. It scored what became perhaps it’s biggest win relatively early with the snaking Pivot Power power strip that spawned several spinoffs.


Indie hardware market Grand St. shuts down on 10/1

Device companies have cause to celebrate when they’re successfully funded and often cause to scramble while they make they make the thing. But then there’s the business of selling the thing beyond the backers. Grand St. was an early company to create a marketplace for independently created gadgets. facilitating connections between products that had been successfully crowdfunded and new buyers.

The company had a chance to jump from the digital to the physical world when it won an opportunity to have a popup store on New York’s Lower East Side (not far from Manhattan’s Grand St.). It was acquired by crafts marketplace Etsy the following month and its staff likely had a role in developing Etsy’s Fund program that the company launched in June. Grand St, offered items that were ready to ship, available for preorder, and in development (Beta). But its marketplace is shutting down as of October 1st. It will still offer items for sale until that date. The Grand St. site lists nearly 270 device makers that it worked with.

Other marketplaces have cropped up for crowdfunded gadgets. These have included Indiegogo itself with its InDemand program, Amazon Launchpad, and Crowd Supply has also sold products funded on its site since its founding.


Hasbro, Indiegogo team for game design contest

Companies such as Quirky and Edison Nation have shown that big-name brands are happy to tap into great ideas that come from the crowd. Now Indiegogo, which has run a number of partnership programs, has teamed up with toy giant Hasbro for a game design contest.

Participants fill out a form on the Hasbro site that provides information about the team and the game. Ideas will be judged on several criteria, including gameplay, story/theme, viability and “potential for fun-ness.” The winning individual or team will get $10,000 and a trip out to Hasbro HQ to meet with game designers. Once five finalists are selected, they’ll have the option to crowdfund their products on Indiegogo with Hasbro providing publicity support. However, the game designers are responsible for fulfilling their own rewards.

Game designers who think they’ve got a Clue in putting in the hard-Scrabble effort of creating the next game Monopoly will have to enter their submissions by September 30th with the winner announced on December 3rd, two days after the Indiegogo campaigns close.

Music News

Oh no, Pono! Hi-res player struggles to expand market

Neil Young’s high-resolution audio player Pono opened the eyes — and ears — of the consumer electronics industry to the promise of portable audio that featured audio fidelity superior to that of a CD. With a campaign that included a barrage of music legends offering their endorsement, the project attracted more than $6 million on Kickstarter. But even campaigns that attract millions of dollars can find that crowdfunded largesse can get them only so far, particularly after suffering a healthy dose of anti-hype for the $400 gadget.

Now, according to a Facebook post by Pono guiding light Neil Young in which he notes the company’s primary business partners, the company is facing challenges as it attempts “doing what only one giant corporation has been able to do before” (presumably Apple in integrating iPod and iTunes).” He continues, “Today we are trying to set up stores in multiple countries and are restricted by a lack off resources. This is our highest priority. As soon as we have the funds, those stores will open.”

Young, who opens the post by calling Pono a labor of love, notes that the effort has only one venture capital investor behind it (although some musicians are investors) and that the company is currently without a CEO. However, he notes that Pono has already fared better than many successfully funded Kickstarter projects. Indeed, a return to crowdfunding campaigns may be in the offing as Young reveals that Pono is moving into headphones and speakers as well as “more exciting breakthrough products.”