We've seen levitating Bluetooth speakers and connected smart cameras before, but the Moon, a fully funded Indiegogo project, melds those technologies in a $209 ($330 at retail) floating robotic eyeball and base that can also act as a smart hub for your home. That is, if it ever ships. The typical crowdfunding caveats apply. Some Indiegogo projects don't have much of a future, and this is 1-Ring's first.
The Moon, which comes from 1-Ring Inc., comprises a wide-angle lens embedded in a sphere made of plastic, aluminum, and rubber. When the smart camera is levitating above its base unit, it can give its owner a 360-degree scan of whatever room it's placed in.
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a few days with DJI's latest and smallest drone, the Spark. The Spark is a remarkable piece of engineering. Weighing in at just 300 grams it's diminutive and dare I say, rather adorable. Everywhere I took it during our long weekend together people stopped to gawk at it, most with stupid grins on their faces. No one was intimidated by its small form or its bee swarm-like sounds, and everyone was astonished that such a small drone could fly so fast and stable and take such clear, sharp videos.
I have seldom had as much fun, or experienced as much stress, testing a new product.
There is no shortage of smart assistants with cameras on the market. You can even get one that judges your outfit. The 'Lighthouse' is a new product in this category that seems smarter than the rest. Backed by Andy Rubin's Playground studio, it's an internet-connected camera that actually understands what is going on in your home.
You don't understand the feeling of violation that a theft causes until you open the door to your home and see everything moved, turned, tossed, and the muddy footprints of a stranger everywhere on your floor, your kitchen cabinets open, and even your bedspread removed and balled up in the garden. That happened to my family's mountain house many, many years ago, and I still remember the feeling of disgust over the scene as well as helplessness with all the police procedures that followed. The perpetrators were never caught, just like any minor theft that occurs in Lebanon — they only took small appliances — and we ended up installing gates and locks on all the windows and doors.
If you've got a late-model Samsung "smart" camera, you should check out this nifty function. Samsung Home Monitor lets owners of the upcoming NX3000 camera (and presumably other models in the NX line) view video from the camera's lens remotely on their phones. It's a neat application of the hardware available.
Using the simple app, you can treat your camera like a security camera or baby/pet monitor. Users can stream live video from the camera at any time, as long as there's Wi-Fi in the house and your smartphone has a data connect (Wi-Fi or mobile). In an impressive display of practical design, the camera can also be activated by sound or motion, alerting the smartphone app via a notification.
Remember the allegedly hilarious video for "The Smart Cube" from last week, which toed the line between awkward funding campaign and a parody of awkward funding campaigns? We mentioned at the time that it was almost certainly an alternative marketing campaign for a Samsung product, probably the Android-powered Galaxy NX camera. There's no way to say this without sounding a little smug, so: yeah. It is.
When snapping pictures, users are reaching for their smartphone instead of the point-and-shoot more and more often. The folks at Polaroid recognize this, so they decided to throw together an Android-powered camera -- a cool idea, no doubt. There is one problem with that, though: you still have to carry two different devices, which almost defeats the purpose.
That aside, the the Polaroid SC1630 is still nothing to scoff at, as it packs a 36-108mm lens and 16MP sensor with 3X optical zoom, 3.2-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, optional 3G connectivity, and even has access to the Android Market, which opens up a whole new world for the camera.