Crowd-funding Your Dreams

Right now is an exciting time for photographers and tech lovers, and we are seeing a steady stream of new gadgets and tools funded through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  Intrepid spirits are getting in not just to fund their personal work, but also to create potential game-changing technologies that you can use to kick your photos up a notch.  Here's a round-up of some of the most intriguing crowd-funded tech and photo projects we've seen recently:

Case

What is it? Case is a DSLR remote that you can control wirelessly via your smartphone.  It was funded recently via an Indiegogo campaign which raised almost $40,000 (on a goal of $500).
What's good?  By connecting to your camera via USB, Case enables your phone to not only control all the cameras features through your phone, including ISO, aperture and shutter speed, but you can also stream your camera's live view and even adjust focus (on certain models).  
What's not?  Rather than a hot shoe or even velcro attachment, Case's transmitter uses a "reusable" adhesive to attach itself to cameras and gear.  Would be much nicer to see a mounting system with more longevity, as adhesives tend to collect dust and dirt and become less tacky over time.

Ritot 

What is it?  Ritot is the first projection watch which allows usage during the day or night.  AnotherIndiegogo campaign success, Riot was over-funded with $1,402,395 the goal was $50,000.
What's good?  The watch doesn’t have any buttons, except for one touch sensitive button, which helps you manipulate the projection.  Not only does it project the time, it also sinks up to your social media accounts and phone to deliver notifications.  The projection technology is absolutely safe for your skin and health, it’s waterproof, and you can change the projection color in one click.  There are more than 20 colors available.  To  activate projection you can touch the button or just shake your hand.  Projections disappears automatically in 10 seconds.
What's not?  Currently the Ritot will only work with iOS, Android and Windows Phones.  The delivery time of the Ritot is unclear and they don’t have a fully working prototype, the photos in campaign are computer renderings of what they envision the device to look like. 

Vela One

What is it? Vela One is the fastest and safest flash in the world.  It was funded on Kickstarter in December with $53,990 and the goal was $29,000.  
What's good? With a flash speed starting at 1/2,000,000 second, or 500 nanoseconds, the Vela One will stop a supersonic, high velocity rifle bullet in its tracks.  A typical speedlight has a duration of around 1/20,000 second (50 microseconds) on its fastest setting. This may sound fast, but a bullet will travel over 5cm or two inches in that time and will be so blurred it's almost invisible. Studio flashes are even slower. For pin-sharp shots you need a much faster flash, and the Vela One is 100 times faster.  Using "chip-on-board" LEDs they built a circuit that drives nine LEDs up to 20 times brighter than rated, without damaging them or overheating, pumping out up to one million lumens.  The Vela One also runs off the same four AA batteries as any speedlight.
What's not? To trigger the flash you need some kind of external trigger which does not come with the product.  Vela One doesn't support all external triggers.  The battery cover is screwed shut making it difficult to replace the batteries in a hurry.  It is also somewhat bulky and unportable.  


Geography of Youth

Back in 2011 one of our instructors Alan Winslow and his partner Morrigan McCarthy were backed byKickstarter for their Geography of Youth project.  The two photographers rode bicycles 30,000 miles, through 50+ countries to document the geography of youth interviewing Millennials about their lives.  Their photographs tell the story of what it means to be in your twenties.  Hundreds of portraits and interviews have now been assembled into a public art show that can be booked for spaces around the world. The Geography of Youth had its world premiere at Photoville in Brooklyn last September.  As of July 2014, The Geography of Youth is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.