One of the coolest things to come out of Redmond was Microsoft’s SenseCam. It was a wearable camera that took thousands of pictures of your daily life to construct visual histories far more vast than our Instagram timelines. But SenseCam never really went anywhere within Microsoft’s product line.
Oxford Metrics Group (OMG) took over the tech and released the Vicon Revue, which assists people with memory impairment (like those living with Alzheimer’s) in remembering everything from their week’s adventures to where they parked their car. Now, OMG is polishing the technology for average consumers.
Their new camera is called the Autographer, and it was developed in conjunction with London’s ChauhanStudio. It’s technically brilliant, using five sensors that discern the best 2,000 moments of your life to capture each day (measuring changes in light, motion, direction, color, and temperature to track activity). But whereas the original SenseCam was an R&D prototype, and the Vicon Revue was technically a medical assistance device, the Autographer reimagines the platform as something that’s not just intelligent but attractive enough that the everyday consumer would want to display on his body, all the time.
“Designing a technology device that is supposed to be worn is tricky; you don’t want it to look too “geeky,” or on the other hand too expressive,” designer Tej Chauhan tells Co.Design. “We wanted it to exude a quiet confidence, with unmistakable character. We worked hard trying to find the right visual language and on the details and physical features that make it wearable.”
That visual language had to build a brand, too, that would make future Autographer’s look related to the original, no matter how much smaller the body and internal processors became. It’s what drove them to the unique “Eye”–a lens that looks ever-so anthropomorphic–peeking out from an otherwise minimal frame. When the lens is closed, the Autographer powers down and the Eye turns bright yellow, signaling to camera-shy company that the system is totally powered down.
OMG also added richer backend services, acknowledging the popularity of Twitter and Facebook, building single-shot sharing into the platform (as 2,000 photos filling your timeline each day would be a bit much).
So it all sounds great, except how do you actually wear the thing? Autographer will hang or be strapped to your body through a series of yet-unannounced accessories–and it’s these accessories that will ultimately decide just how comfortable and practical the device is. Given that the Autographer is expected to go on sale this November, we should know a lot more on that topic soon.