Imaging Kids/Babies

Looky Loo Light gets your baby’s focus for your camera’s focus

The Premise. We love taking photos of our kids, and, with the transition from wallet to smartphone, immense photo storage has encouraged child-centered bragging to hit an all-time high. But it’s hard to show off images of your baby which are blurry because he wouldn’t sit still or just okay because she’s decided every other object in the room is more interesting than a camera lens.

The Product. The Looky Loo Light tricks babies and small children into liking photography by distracting and inspiring them to look directly at the lens, in most cases improving the subject’s interaction with the camera. It’s comprised of a set of four blinking, colored LED lights on a Velcro band which can attach to the lens hood of a DSLR. The flashing lights tend to dominate the child’s attention, so that in most cases her body is positioned toward the camera and a head-on shot looking directly (or almost directly) into the lens can be achieved. There are three light settings, three different sound settings, and even adjustments you can make to the brightness of the lights – handy for transitioning from indoor and outdoor shooting.

The Pitch. In a four-minute video which is one part product pitch and three parts blooper reel, pro photographer and chief Looky Looer Allison Carenza tells us that she specializes in shooting children’s portraits and explains what inspired the idea. Realizing that her “tools” for taking children’s portraits were increasingly looking more like children’s toys and less like camera accessories, she decided to make something that would lessen the burden of entertainment, freeing her to more easily capture fantastic shots when they came. Allison explains to backers that she needs to raise $50,000 to pay for a small initial Looky Loo Light production, which she has determined will occur in the U.S. While the page lacks any type of demonstrative content in installing Looky Loo onto your camera lens, it does identify two achievements in 2013 – winner of the “Dream Big” and “Most Innovative Inventions of 2013” awards.

The Perks. For 25 early birds, pledges of $150 will earn a backer reward of one black Looky Loo Light along with a Looky Loo t-shirt. Kickstarter and Standard editions offer the same reward for $199 and $249 respectively, and backers who want a limited edition color will commit to funding the project at $299. All Looky Loos are expected to ship in August.

The Potential.  While no doubt a useful product for Allison’s application, it’s difficult to say how easily Looky Loo may be adopted by the general public. Many new parents certainly choose to invest in a DSLR, but that is a purchase expected to last a number of years. While Looky Loo may be successful in creating easier “head-on” portraits of children less than a year old, it would be important to understand how much longer a child has before becoming desensitized. All toys get old and uninteresting after awhile –ask Andy and Buzz. It’s not a very practical accessory to have to tote around in terms of size and it’s unclear whether Looky Loo can be used simultaneously with an external flash, or whether light from the LEDs are negatively effecting the image.

Connected Objects

Fitlime cuts off juice, puts the squeeze on laziness

The Premise. If it wasn’t for distractions such as work and the family, fitness would be so much simpler. Well, okay, the TV, video games, smart phone, computer, social networking, iPad and various other gadgets might have a little something to do with it too. What if there was an electronic device that could assist people with restricting such distractions?

The Product. The Fitlime Air System is a combination of hardware and software that is ironically used to keep you from some of your favorite hardware and software. A bland black loxkbox prevents use of videogame consoles while the app is used to restrict permissions on phone or tablet apps such as games. The key for the lock device can be left with a trusted friend until workout goals are completed. Fitness goals are registered in the app by the user along with the offending gadgets of distraction; the company is planning to integrate with popular exertion tracking apps and devices such as RunKeeper and the Jawbone UP.

The Pitch. The idea for the product came to founder Trevor McGerri back in 2011 while working toward his dentistry degree; the aspiring oral doctor struggled with the newest gadgets distracting him from his fitness goals and studies. The campaign video hits on the idea of distractions interfering with fitness goals by using 1960s Woodstock-style music and a guy who zones out with his smartphone when it’s time to say his name. The point is accentuated by a woman who rolls off the gym treadmill while answering her ringing smartphone. Of course, as soon as someone says they’ve never heard of such a thing, a McDonalds-style lawsuit will be splashed all over mainstream headlines on just such an event.

The Perks. Before you have the privilege of self-denial, you’ll need the discipline to send at least $74 to the campaign, which is the price for a console. This includes the hardware locking device and a remote to unlock it plus apps to connect up to 10 devices, Depending on which tier a backer selects, the estimated delivery date would be anywhere from March to May of 2014

The Potential. From the time of Odysseus and the sirens, we’ve known that precommitment can be a powerful aid in resisting temptation. More recently, we’ve seen sites such as Stickk that require you to pay money when you miss certain goals. The Aim hardware device is similar in concept to Bob, designed to control tasks such as TV watching and game playing for kids. It, like the Aim, is ineffective for battery-controlled devices such as the iPad. Fitlime is trying to set straight tech junkies, game addicts, and those who tend to get wrapped up in TV, the Internet and social networking to the point of losing track of the time once they get started. But the veneer of prevention that it provides doesn’t appear to be enough of a deterrent.