A quick look at some of the new and creative ways people are using imaging technology we've seen at the CES Unveiled 2015 event
CES Unveiled 2015: a glimpse into new imaging technologies
Amateur Photographer is at CES 2015, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We’re still waiting to get our hands on the ‘proper’ new cameras, but at the ‘CES Unveiled’ event on Sunday evening we saw a few interesting imaging products. None of these are cameras for enthusiast photographers, as such, but they do display some interesting ideas and technology.
1. The netatmo camera keeps an eye on your front door
Here’s an interesting idea: the netatmo camera is designed to monitor who’s coming to your front door, and alert you when strangers turn up.
With a wideangle lens and vertical cylindrical design, it can learn to recognise faces of your family and let them past; however when it spots someone it doesn’t know, it can send a push notification to your mobile phone, just in case it’s a burglar rather than the postman, or a courier delivering your online shopping. (If the burglar decides to break in through a window, too bad.)
All joking aside, this product has won multiple awards, and is an interesting application of face recognition technology. See more at http://www.netatmo.com/en-US/product/camera
2. The Narrative Clip 2 is a tiny wearable camera
If the idea of ‘lifelogging’ doesn’t really appeal to you, then look away now. The ‘Narrative Clip 2’ is a tiny wearable camera that measures just 36 x 36 x 12mm (1.4” x 1.4” x 0.5”) and weighs in at just 28g / 1oz.
With an 8MP camera, f/2.2 lens with 86° wideangle view, and 8GB built-in memory, it includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to download your day’s images to your mobile phone. To keep tabs on where you are it has GPS, an accelerometer, a solid-state compass and even a gyroscope.
Wearable technology is supposed to be ‘the future’, but like Google Glass, a lot of people will probably find this type of device a little creepy. But it’s an impressive example of miniaturisation nonetheless.
It’s available now, in black, red or white, for $199. See more at http://getnarrative.com/.
3. The IC Realtech ‘Allie’
You’ve probably heard way too much of the ‘selfie’, but for 2015, IC Realtech brings you the ‘Allie’. It’s a device that uses two fisheye cameras to record a 360° all-round view – hence the name.
This may sound like the Ricoh Theta, but it’s not purely a stills camera. Instead it’s designed to stream video to a smart device, and all the cleverness comes in the app that controls this. Not only does this automatically ‘defish’ the image in the image in real-time to remove distortion, it also senses movement of the phone or tablet and adjusts the image to map. So as you rotate your smartphone around, the image pans with it to view different parts of the scene. Yet this all comes from a fixed camera with no moving parts. It’s very clever indeed.
At the moment the ‘Allie’ comes in three designs for different purposes; one designed as a security camera, another with a more stylised vertical bar shape that’s meant to blend in with your living room, and a third which has a more playful shape that’s aimed for use as a baby or child monitor. A fourth is in development, a red spherical device that’s aimed at the action camera market, where we think it could be quite well-received. See more at http://icrealtech.com/products
4. Droning on a bit
Drone manufacturer DJI was showing off its products, including a redesigned gimbal for the popular Phantom quadcopter that’s adapted to mount the latest GoPro Hero 4 (which apparently balances differently to its predecessor). Also on display were higher-end models, like the Spreading Wings 900 hexacopter which can carry larger, heavier cameras like the Sony Alpha 7.
Meanwhile the clever Inspire 1 has rotors that pivot upwards on carbon fibre arms to give its motorised 4K video / 12MP stills camera an unrestricted view. You may find all the hype around drones a little tiresome, but there’s no doubt that they’re here to stay, and offer an exciting new platform for photography. See more at http://www.dji.com/products.
5. Liquid Image Ego LS
This curiously-named device is the world’s first video camera capable of streaming across a 4G mobile data network. Despite looking somewhat like an action camera, it’s primarily designed for security applications. This technology however could be an interesting method of long-distance remote control in future smart cameras. It’ll cost $399 in the USA: http://www.liquidimageco.com/collections/ego-ls/products/model-800-ego-ls.
6. ZUtA Labs Pocket printer
This little device, believe it or not, is a printer. The eccentrically-capitalised ZUtA Labs Pocket printer is a little robot that runs on top of the paper, which according to its inventors means it can work on any size paper – assuming you can lay the sheet down flat, of course. It’s controlled over Wi-Fi from a smartphone or computer. If you’re not convinced, you can watch a video of the printer in action at http://www.zutalabs.com/