For most of us, the smartphone camera has become the primary device for taking snapshots, which has opened up a market for accessories and apps to make it something that it isn’t: a professional-grade camera with a sharp focus and multiple lenses. The latest phone-enhancing attachment: an iPhone case that acts as a polarizing filter to cut out the obnoxious glare that can make pictures look blown-out and fuzzy.
Launched recently on Kickstarter, the filter is the inaugural product of a startup called Trygger, headed by Scott Phillips and Joel Kamerman, former bigwigs at LaCie, a company known for its attention to design. Since it clips onto your iPhone like an ordinary case, it’s always there when needed. Simply slide the back cover over the camera lens and use the wheel to adjust the light through the filter, which effectively cuts out noisy light and unwanted reflections while making colors more vibrant and the contrast sharper—an effect that isn’t possible post-production in Photoshop.
Although the idea came from Phillips and Kamerman, Ziba, a design studio based in Portland, Oregon, oversaw all aspects of product development in exchange for equity in the company. Like Fuseproject’s Yves Béhar, Ziba’s founder, Sohrab Vossoughi, had implemented the equity business model before, but with varying degrees of success. This time around, Vossoughi insisted on a condition: Ziba would have control over every touch point of the product experience, from the branding to the package design. Having already established a trusted professional relationship with Ziba—LaCie was one of the firm’s first clients—Phillips and Kamerman conceded.
Working at breakneck speed, Vossoughi and a team of nine designers refined the concept over a mere six months before gauging consumer interest on Kickstarter. It’s the genre of product that tends to do especially well on a crowdfunding site, a simple gee-whiz tech solution that solves a problem you didn’t realize you had and hits the retail sweet spot—it’s available to Kickstarters for $35 (including shipping with the U.S.).
So far, the response is encouraging: With more than three weeks to go in the campaign, Trygger is halfway toward its goal of $25,000. The initial success bolsters Vossoughi’s argument for a holistic design approach, which he will extend to the company’s future array of products geared toward augmenting the functionality of smartphones and tablets. "This is an exciting venture for us, because it will show the business world that you really need to design every point," Vossoughi says. "You can’t just do a nice product and go to market."