AUSTIN, Texas — Sure, thanks to smartphones most of us have a camera with us most of the time. But what we don’t have is a camera on us to capture all those moments when we aren’t holding the phone up to take a framed shot. And that, if you ask the two-Swedish creators of the Memoto camera, is a problem worth solving.
“The idea is that you can now capture photos you wouldn’t have otherwise,” Oskar Kalmaru, one of the co-founders of Memoto, told ABC News at SXSW. “With your iPhone you can capture stuff you know you want to shoot, but you have to interrupt that moment and know that the moment is going to be special. With this you know you are going to capture that moment.”
The Memoto camera, which raised $550,189 on Kickstarter in 2012, is a small wearable 5-megapixel camera about the size of those Listerine Breath Strips packs. The $279 camera clips on to a shirt or coat and automatically captures two photos every minute — or one photo every 30 seconds. It has a microUSB port for syncing it with your computer and 8GB of storage, which can hold two days or 4,000 photos. The company will offer a 32GB version, which can capture eight days of photos, but the little device has to be charged every two days anyway.
But who wants to comb through 4,000 photos every time they sync the camera with their computer? That’s where the software comes in. While the camera doesn’t have Bluetooth because of battery life concerns, when you plug it in and sync it with the app it will organize the photos.
“You are never going to look at 4,000 photos. You will see the key frames of each moment which has been picked as the best one. The best being decided by color, focus and if there are faces in it,” Kalmaru explained.
Once you sync it to the computer, the organized photos will appear in the Memoto iPhone app as well.
So, why would you want to capture your life in this way? Lifecasting, the idea of capturing your life on video or through photo, isn’t new, but that’s not the entire goal of this camera. Martin Källström, the other founder of the company, said it is a great solution for a special day, say a wedding or big event, where you know you are going to be meeting a lot of people.
“The mainstream use isn’t for just wearing it to the office; you probably don’t want to relive those moments,” Källström said.
Whether a product like the Memoto turns out to be a mainstream success remains to be seen, but with Google Glass on the way, which also has a built in camera for taking photos and recording video, wearable cameras are certainly gaining traction in the tech community and are bound to raise eyebrows and privacy concerns when they are out in public.
“The only way to shut the camera off is to put it away or somewhere dark,” Källström explained. ”If they see the camera people still feel uncomfortable, that’s why we require you put it away or take it off. That’s one way we are thinking about people’s privacy.”
The Memoto will be shipping in the next couple of months to the early Kickstarter backers and to others who ordered the camera.