Imaging Interviews Wearables

The Backerjack Interview: Narrative’s Oskar Kalmaru on the evolving wearable camera

Raising over half a million dollars as Memoto, the Narrative Clip has been a pioneer in the field of wearable cameras. Originally marketing a life-logging device, the company has seen its cameras embraced for more diverse scenarios. Backerjack caught up with Narrative CMO and co-founder Oskar Kalmaru to discuss what the company has learned from the first Clip. Kalmaru also discussed some of the cool features of the Clip 2, which will include better image quality, better connectivity and 3D-printable mounts, but take a pass on Kickstarter.

Backerjack: It’s been about a year since the Narrative Clip shipped. What have you been hearing from your customers?

Kalmaru: It’s a really nice feeling to be able to go from being a Kickstarter project where everything is just pre-everything – pre-users, pre-product —  to having an actual product out with actual users actually using it and seeing that it does work. It does help people to live in the moment and capture things as they happen and relax in the moment and still get photos out of it People use it in 52 countries now and have been using it for travel, taking pictures of their families, photographing weddings.

Backerjack: From those use cases, it sounds like people are using it more situationally rather than wearing it all day every day and sorting through the photos. When I tried the product, I was pleased with the picture quality but it makes you realize you’re not doing the most exciting stuff every day.

Kalmaru: It’s a camera that’s great for life-logging if that’s what you want to do. But if it isn’t, it’s great for a lot of other things, too. And as with most wearables, what we’re seeing now is that they aren’t necessarily meant to be used all the time. There are a few wearables that are used all the time — maybe your watch, maybe your glasses. You use the camera in situations where it would make sense. It could be having dinner with friends, spending time hiking with your family. It could be doing things that are maybe out of the ordinary or you want to be able to do those activities and stay in the moment and still capture it.

Backerjack: When you launched, you had a competitor that was priced quite a bit higher. It looks like they’ve exited the hardware market so what do you take away from that? Do you think it was just the price point they were at? Or is it a setback for the category?

Kalmaru: I can’t really tell why they pulled out. We’re having a fantastic year. We have users from all over the world using it all the time. We raised another $8 million from Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park. Again, this is proving that this category is the future. Just look at the trends. The photo trend, that’s one megatrend. There are two billion photos uploaded every single day and you have the wearable trend next to that. People are getting more and more used to wearables devices. Combine those two and you have wearable cameras.

Health and Wellness

Clamp-like EnerQi offers DIY accupressure

Acupuncture has long since been recognized as a great way to treat pain and relieve stress. It’s difficult to find the time to make it to the acupuncturist, however, and it seems a little frivolous to go for every ache and pain. That’s why the folks at EnerQi have come up with a way to get that same relief no matter where you are. This product is a clip that can be used to target those pressure points for relief. The pressure it puts out is adjustable and, best of all, it doesn’t use any needles. In addition, EnerQi uses different rubber covers for a range in size and hardness.

Many people need quick ways to lower their stress levels so they can continue to work or do whatever else that causes them anxiety. EnerQi is a great way to get that relief no matter where you are. While they look a little silly when worn, and look like a torture device in general, this is a great way to calm down. To get the EnerQi, backers will need to donate $25 with an estimated delivery date of March 2015. This product is looking to meet a symmetric goal of $8,888 on Kickstarter.


SpexGrip offers a safe place for your glasses in a pinch

spexGripFor those who wear eyeglasses, it’s important to have them at the ready when driving. Most eyeglasses clips for the car live on the visor and, when the clip is released, come crashing down right on the driver. SpexGrip holds your glasses in the car, but attaches to the center console instead. The glasses slide into the product so they’re easy to remove without incident. One SpexGrip will cost backers a donation of $5, with an extra one thrown in. This is one of those incredible simple and cheap products that could actually be quite convenient. SpexGrip is looking to raise $3,600 on Indiegogo.


Hack x Tack uses magnets to keep your lens cap from straying

Hack x TackLosing lens caps is a part of any photographer’s life. Some caps attach to cameras with a string, but these can be intrusive when trying to capture a cool shot. The Hack x Tack made out of steel and wood uses magnets keep lens caps from getting lost. This small clip attaches to your clothes or bag and grabs onto the cap with a magnet that adheres to the front of the lens cap. The magnet is entirely device safe and goes for $24 CAD with an estimated delivery date of August 2014. The Toronto-made Hack x Tack has a $25,000 CAD goal over 31 days on Kickstarter.

Apparel Fitness

KeyClip keeps keys from bouncing in the breeze

KeyClipAthletes who enjoy running or cycling outside constantly face the problem of where to put their keys while exercising. They either run the risk of being uncomfortable or of putting their keys in an unsafe place. KeyClip is a small magnetic pouch that holds your key securely while you jog. It then clips directly to your clothing for safekeeping. The strong magnet ensures it will stay put, much like the Nunchuk clip. One of these clips goes for a $20 pledge with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. KeyClip hopes to raise $15,000 in a 45-day stint on Kickstarter.

Camping Luggage and Bags Tools

Qlipter is the final word in carabiners

qlipterWhen the carabiner made the jump from mountain climbing tool to everyday accessory, it seemed like the garment clip industry had pretty much reached its zenith. Now comes the Qlipter, a small and mighty device that looks like a standard carabiner but is capable of so much more. Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, the Qlipter has a rotating hook built into its design, meaning that anything clipped can be hung and allowed to swivel freely.  The clip is also magnetized to help keep it securely shut for towing or hauling smaller items onto larger ones. Backers can get a Qlipter of their very own to hang onto for $20, delivered in August.

Cell Phone Accessories Organization

Nunchuk keeps your earbuds, metal minutiae, closely clipped

NunchukLife gets messy and cluttered with all of those little things we need to live our lives day to day. Money, keys, pens, and other debris seem to float around with little rhyme or reason. Nunchuk is not a weapon, but a small flexible magnetic strip that wraps around your personal flotsam and jetsam. Several magnets make the vegan leather product able to fit around different sized and shaped objects. One of these nifty accessories costs backers $13 with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. Nunchuk needs to raise $3,700 in its short 16-day run on Kickstarter to fight its way onto the market.

Apparel Cycling

KATCH toes the hemline for skirt-wearing cyclists

KATCHEver ride around on a bike in a cute skirt only to end up flashing the world when a gust of wind blows your honor away? Try KATCH, a magnet that keeps your skirt in place when on the go. The metal cuff can be worn as a bracelet or honor-preserver by weighing short skirts or dresses down so nothing is revealed. This clever product may be just the thing for pedal-pumping women unwilling to compromise style for functionality. KATCH comes in different styles and colors and one goes for only $10 with an estimated delivery date of May 2014. KATCH hopes to catch $5,000 from backers in their 30-day run on Kickstarter.


Rip Clips spare the tear on the thoroughfare

The Premise. If you’re not up for cuffing or hemming your jeans and alternate between heel lengths, your pants can drag, resulting in rips that can make your spirits drag so as well. There are a number of non-surgical approaches to addressing the losing battle that pants bottoms face when taking on rough sidewalks. These include double sided tape or clips that hem pants.

The Product. Rip Clips seeks to up the ante and your pants hems. The idea is to attach a clip to your shoes and the pants that connect via powerful neodymium magnet.Alas, there are compatibility issues and the product works only with Vans and Converse shoes for now.

The Pitch. Designers Chris Hackler and Nick Durantes take us through the a montage of lifestyle shots visits to an alterations shop, and the inside of the world’s most organized drawer complete with exquisitely spaced Rip Clips in explaining that their design will save you time and trouble in addition to tearing. Trips to the alternation shop, they note, can cost up to $26 and take up to five days. Invoking the classic infomercial refrain, they note, “There’s gotta be a better way!”

The Perks. Rip Clips depend on the attachments being on both the shoes and pants, but that may require some mixing and matching. As such, you may need to buy different parts separately. The project owners offer pants plates starting at $7 but a full set comes in at $13. That’s half of what they claim hemming can cost and the price might drop if the designers can scale up production.

The Potential. Rip Clips addresses an everyday issue. but many teens and young adults likely aren’t too concerned with ripping their jeans. It may be more tempting to market to those who would make the investment for work clothes, but these are the folks for whom alterations may not represent a lot of time and effort.