About this project
What Exactly Is COVR Photo?
COVR Photo is a patent-pending iPhone case with a built in lens making it easier for parents, grandparents, friends, world travelers, aspiring photographers, and even professionals to capture amazing everyday moments of our kids and the world around us. COVR Photo is a unique tool to help all of us capture the beautiful moments that last forever and it is a great accessory to have on your smartphone.
COVR Photo's Television Debut
Last Thursday we were excited to see that COVR Photo had been featured on the Right This Minute show on KIRO Channel 7.
Right This Minute is an innovative show where they review the coolest things being talked about on the Internet. We are thrilled that they chose to highlight COVR Photo.
Kim Stano - A Mom of Three and A COVR Case User
Kim Stano has been married to her husband Bret for 9 years and is raising three kids ages 5, 4, and 1. With so much going on in their family, Kim has to rely 100% on her iPhone to capture the family's photos. We wanted to see what happened when we gave Kim one of our COVR Photo cases with a built in lens for a week - All we asked in return was that she let us see her pictures and she had to give us her most honest review of COVR, good or bad…
Note: Photos are intentionally grainy or softened as each individual photographers editing & post-production style. They do NOT reflect the quality of the COVR Photo prism lens.
"The hardest part about taking pics of my crew is they are so used to posing for the camera, due to grandparents etc, that when we try to take a picture of them in a moment they instantly react or stop what they're doing. Everyday I see moments that have me in awe of God's gifts to me but can't capture them...till now!" - Kim Stano after shooting with COVR for a week
My Inspiration For Creating COVR
I created COVR after my wife Angela, a mom of three young boys, was diagnosed with late-stage cancer at the age of 37. Not knowing what lay ahead, Angela and I made it our mission to document as many special moments in our family so our sons would always be able to look back on the beautiful relationship and adventures they had with their mom. However, one of the frustrations we immediately ran into was with our youngest son Reilly only 1.5 years old, he was almost always in Angela's arms or holding onto one of her hands and camera phones require using two hands. This left it increasingly difficult for Angela to use her iPhone to capture pictures or video because she rarely, if ever, had two hands free. As Angela shared her frustrations with me, I knew there had to be a way to solve this problem. For several days I scoured the web for an answer and racked my brain for ideas, and then it dawned on me as I was flipping between two different baseball games on TV, what if Angela could hold her phone in one hand and shoot her pictures & video the same way I was holding the TV remote in one hand using my thumb to control the channels? If I could build a case that she'd always have on her iPhone then she wouldn’t miss the special moments between her and her boys…and with that, the COVR Photo Lens Case was born.
Just like Angela and I have been able to, you moms & dads are going to finally be able to capture pictures of your children without the frustration of missing the moment trying to get your hands free. COVR Photo is going to spare the headaches of trying to convince your kids to stop ruining the pictures you want because they catch you taking their picture and the begin making goofy faces. And while parents are going to love COVR Photo, it’s also an AMAZING tool for professional journalists and documentary photographers, like those I worked alongside for the 20 years I myself spent as a photojournalist, who also want to capture the world around them the way it is, untouched and without influence - naturally.
Currently we have several prototypes in the hands of some world-class photojournalists and now, some world-class moms! Both the pros and the parents are making wonderful photographs and their responses have been terrific. Angela and I have a dream, and that dream begins with our passion for COVR to be the tool that allows all of you to make amazing pictures of your friends and family. As our family can attest, life will throw all of us curveballs, and we never want you to miss the moments that matter, the moments that will last for life times.
Pro Photographers Using COVR
Richard Koci Hernandez, Emmy-award winning visual journalist and co- author of the book, The Art of iPhoneography, saw our COVR Photo Lens Case and sent us this message:
"I NEED one of these now! OMG! You must know that I consider it a bad day if someone notices me shooting images, for the exact reasons you mention - Yours solves all those problems. MUST HAVE!"
We overnighted a prototype to him and here's just a few of the amazing images Richard took with the COVR Photo Lens Case:
Note: Photos are intentionally grainy per individual photographers editing & digital processing styles and do NOT reflect the quality of the COVR Photo prism lens.
How Does the COVR Photo Lens Case Work?
COVR Photo is a protective iPhone case with a lens built into it. Simply press the case onto your iPhone, download our app from the App Store, and you're ready to shoot pictures and video. If you want to use your regular iPhone camera just slide the COVR lens back and shoot away.
One of the great assets of COVR Photo is that it's always on your iPhone ready and waiting—you’ll never have to miss a special moment again.
What Problems Does COVR Solve?
Great question! The COVR Photo Lens Case solves four distinct problems we all face as parents when we're trying to capture special pictures or video that can live on forever…if we don't miss the moment or it isn't ruined by our kids sudden goofiness.
• Always Ready - Snap. Just like that a special moment or amazing photo is missed because you couldn’t get to your camera quick enough. Today, the best camera we have is the one we have with us and almost everyone is carrying a camera-phone.
• More Choices - COVR Photo is designed so that you have a choice between taking a photo with the standard iPhone lens OR slide the COVR Photo lens forward and allow yourself to capture your images and videos from a different angle, with a different look.
• Easier to Hold & Shoot - Apple designed the iPhone so that it could be used in the easiest possible way: cradled in one hand and operated with your thumb or a finger from your other hand. COVR Photo has extended this same natural position principal and functionality to taking pictures with your iPhone. Nonexistent until now — there is no need to hold your phone up when capturing a moment. Keeping your phone steady and with just a slide of the lens you are now able to capture a real moment when it happens.
• Subtle & Unobtrusive - This matters because whether you're a mom or dad trying to shoot a video of your kids in the midst of some lovable mischievous moment, or a street photographer documenting the hard streets of New York or Beijing; being able to keep your camera phone in a less obvious position helps to not interrupt the uniqueness of what is unfolding before you.
The COVR Rewards
Campaign rewards are an integral part of our project. The rewards we have selected here are to thank you for your support.
***For backers outside of the United States - COVR Photo is not responsible for any additional customs or duties that may occur.
The COVR Photo Team
COVR Photo was founded by inventor and visionary Thomas Hurst. Thomas called on Steve Vincent to lead the engineering challenges for the company. Together they assembled a gifted team that includes an industrial designer, mechanical and software engineers, optics engineers, a brand marketing guru, a business development leader, and a media marketing expert. We have the expertise in all areas of design and manufacturing to make this product a success.
We have spent the last several months refining the final design to work well with the iPhone 5/5s. That includes testing of 11 different prototype designs with a dozen different users to insure the case and the IOS app are easy to use. The COVR Photo cases you see in the videos and pictures are real, finished prototypes. The CAD models for the lens and case are complete and ready to start the tooling process.
The app is completely functional and is close to ready to submit to the App Store. We have taken hundreds of pictures with the COVR Photo prototypes and given them to several iPhone users and professional photographers to test and give us feedback. We are confident we have a solid design and are ready for the final push to build production units.
The only differences between the prototypes in the images here is that the production units will look and feel better, and have a few cosmetic improvements.
We have been working hard over the past year to design, test, and iterate on COVR Photo to make it the kind of product we are proud of and want to use ourselves. We strongly believe COVR Photo is a practical solution to taking better pictures in many situations. We have completed the design work and are ready to move forward. But we need your help.
By contributing to our KickStarter campaign, you are helping us bring our dream to life by providing the support needed to complete the manufacturing process. We have spent over $50K of our own money to develop COVR Photo to this point, and the manufacturing tooling will cost about another $60K, plus inventory, shipping, and fulfillment services will take us to about $83K. The funds raised on KickStarter will be used to pay for the tooling and fixtures, as well as the first production run and related expense to get COVR Photo in your hands.
In addition, we need your input to make COVR Photo even better. You are the ones taking pictures every day in a wide range of situations. You can help us to build a better product by using COVR Photo and providing us with your ideas and suggestions for improvements. We would love for you to join us on this journey!
We have spent the last several months refining the final design to work well with the iPhone 5/5s. That includes testing of 11 different prototype designs with a dozen different users to insure the case and the IOS app are easy to use. The design of the case and lens are now complete and ready for manufacturing. We have selected our injection mold tooling vendors, and are currently looking at fulfillment services.
We have identified and narrowed our choices to two different manufacturing factories and will make the final decision before the tooling is ordered. The two factories are experienced with this type of manufacturing and are currently manufacturing other retail products now.
Once our project is funded, we will immediately place orders for the injection mold tooling while we work on completing the last few details of the IOS app. The case tooling will be done in about 8 weeks, but the lens tooling will take about 12 weeks to complete. Optical lenses are a very challenging process that can only be done by experienced companies, which is why we have chosen one of the best in the business in the US.
After we run trials on the tools and have proven the parts meet or exceed our standards, there will be a small pre-production run (about a 2 week process) where we test the assembly process and verify we can produce a quality product. After successful pre-production runs, we will start full scale manufacturing which will take about 30 days to complete - dependent on the total number of rewards required. We will start shipping product to the fulfillment service within 10 days of the start of production and continue shipping product each week. The total time from the end of our Kickstarter campaign to shipping our first units will be 122 days or less. Our goal is to deliver sooner!
We are proud of the fact that all tooling and production will be done in the United States!. This will significantly reduce shipping and testing as we will be on location and at the factory to inspect parts and assemblies.
We have an experienced team that has executed new designs through production and shipping which makes us confident we can meet the schedule we've laid out.
Risks and challenges
We have designed, built, and tested multiple prototypes and the engineering of the lens and the case is complete. The COVR Photo App is completely functional, with only tweaks needed to improve performance. The case and lens have been engineered for injection molding, and we have already selected world class manufacturing facilities in the USA for building the COVR Photo case parts. The big challenge is to build the injection mold tooling for production parts. While there is some risk in this process, we have built and tested the prototypes to ensure they are ready for final tooling.
Tooling is expensive and time consuming, however we have a lot of experience with injection molding so the risk is minimal. Additionally, we will be building the tooling in the US to reduce the risk and have more secure delivery times. The main challenge will be getting the multiple fixtures and tooling done to build the lens. Given that we have a very experienced optics engineer and a top US optics manufacture working on this, the risk is significantly reduced and we feel confident in moving forward once we have funding in place to lock down commitments.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The short answer to your question is no, the lens is not a mirror and does not flip up. BUT, if quality photography is important to you, you don't want it to fold flat. I gave a lot of time, thought, and research to the collapsible mirror idea and in the end I moved away from it for a few different reasons. First, there are already patents filed for just that type of idea. Second, I was a photojournalist for 20 years and a high quality image matters to me at the end of a day of shooting. Using a mirror rather than high-grade prism is a significant downgrade in quality. While it might have seemed like a cool concept in the package, and would have cost me way less then the prisms I'm using, I just couldn't poor my heart and soul into something people would soon find was less than great after they bought it.
As well, trying to keep the mirrors clean is hard, and the popup design meant that if stuff like pocket lint and finger prints got in there - and it does - you were either going to have to clean the mirror every time you took it out of your pocket or just relent to the idea that your pictures were going to look crappy and have hair and lint specs on in you cherished moment picture. And another thing, the mirrors I was looking at were all distorting the images - meaning that everything was much closer than you are used to when using your iPhone camera. So, after reviewing and testing a mirror, I was all done considering the flip up mirror option.
The way I've set the prism on this particular case is far less noticeable then caring your keys or wallet in your pocket. I understand that it has the 'appearance' of feeling awkward in your pocket, but it actually doesn't at all. As I was studying and working on the design with my engineers, I started watching people and how they put their phones in their front or back pockets. What I learned is the overwhelmingly vast majority of people who keep their phones in the pants pocket, put the screen face side inward against their skin. That’s when I realized I instinctively do that too and the reason being as I have and instinctual phobia of cracking my screen and so does just about everyone else.
The prism, which sits just under 1/2" high from back of the iPhone to tip, is always pointing out away from us and not jabbed into our leg, Now that’s still doesn't make it a perfect design feature if people are concerned how it might feel. However, I would rather have to work on that issue in future designs then have people buy my product and wind up with crappy pictures they can't ever replace.
Right now you can only shoot vertical (portrait) mode. However, I've already drafted and patented a design for a Pro-line of COVR Photo cases that will allow you to shoot both portrait/vertical and landscape/horizontal. There are a few technical challenges to do this, so we will be working on future designs once we complete our Kickstarter campaign and deliver all the rewards. I really appreciate questions so thank you for asking.
There is a felt seal between the lens and the camera prism that helps to keep that interface clean. When you slide the lens forward over the However, the front face of the lens can get dirty and need occasional cleaning just like any other lens. There are no small spaces for lint and dirt to build up, so a quick wipe of the front face of the lens and you are good to to.
Great question. I would LOVE to make the COVR Photo Lens Case for Android and I am seriously wanting to break the picture taking barrier from iPhone to Android. The problem is the Android phone makers are always moving the camera somewhere different with each phone. With some of these phones, it isn't feasible to make a COVR Photo case for them due to technical issues - the camera lens is in a location that you can't even use our type of lens.
However, we are looking at several Android and Windows phones to determine which ones would be good candidates for a COVR Photo case. I'm actually hoping some Android users back this project even at our $25 level (get a signed 5x7 print) just so I have the capital to start working on the solution - I am super driven to be the first guy to find a really good solution to build a COVR Photo Lens Case for Android.
We started out the COVR project working with an iPhone 4/4s and have a prototype done. We we’ll need to create the tooling, molds, manufacture and all the details that go along with it. We are considering offering a 4/4s version if we see a demand for them and have the financial backing. This may possibly become a stretch goal . . . .
We would love to - but it isn't released yet. As soon as the iPhone 6 is released Apple will provide the technical details to the developers and we will look at making a COVR case for it. We just cannot promise anything until the 6 is available. Stay tuned . . .
When you click on the "Back This Project" button near the top right side of the page, you will be able to pledge a any amount you wish. Through Kickstarter and Amazon payments, you can topre-order COVR Photo case by choosing one of the rewards and proceeding through to make your commitment to payment via Amazon.
Your credit card is only charged at the end of the campaign once we have met our funding goal.
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