Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 11.

Photo-main

Create 360' degree annular images with this accessory for pocket digital cameras and simple Mac and PC software

The Product - Your Reward

This is what you get - All rewards ship with one of these
This is what you get - All rewards ship with one of these

Create one-shot annular panoramic photos with this accessory for pocket digital cameras, digital SLRs and camcorders with only one photo. Use the software to convert the images to rectangular panoramas. This solution lets you take pictures that couldn't be with regular stitch software or panoramic capture modes. Your subjects can't walk away, you can now capture the moment all around you with one pic. 

Simply place the product over the the lens of your camera and take a photograph and then drop it into the software below. 

The Software 

Image processing software for Mac and Windows
Image processing software for Mac and Windows

The images that are captured by the device are circular and need to be converted into rectangular images for viewing. The software has an easy to use drag and drop interface that you drop the captured images onto and then used the manipulators to adjust the region that you want to keep. 

The application was developed using the fantastic JUCE API making it cross platform. There are currently available builds for Mac 10.4 and Windows XP, more recent OS releases are supported on both those platforms. If there is sufficient demand I will add Linux flavors to the supported target platforms.

Image Gallery









All these images were taken in Brighton, UK, in July 2013 using the new lens. The camera is a Canon Ixus 500. None of the images have been image processed and they were created on the PC using my bespoke software.

Image Quality

These images are cut outs from the photo shown in the project image. The first image is an unscaled cut out from the original circular image that was taken at a resolution of 2734 * 2734. The second image is a cut out from the exported image that was converted at a resolution of 10055 x 2500, which is a very high conversion. The following list of cut outs are from images that were converted at @ 2500 width.

None of these results have been enhanced in Photoshop or with any other enhancement process, they are at pixel resolution from images that are about 2500 pixels wide. The use of Photoshop or similar would yield even more impressive results, but of course we all know that already.

When did you start this project

A few years ago during the credit crunch I made a batch of units but the manufacturers made the lens incorrectly so it was not transparent. I have now sourced a new manufacturer of high quality lens and I am able to retrofit the existing stock with these new working parts.

Why this design ?

This animated gif shows how the device is assembled and stored for transport. Once assembled it is placed over the optical axis of your camera. This gif shows the old lens, but the process of assembly is exactly the same. This enables the mirror and lens to be protected from scratches and stresses during transport. 

The new lens component

The old lens is on the left and the new lens is on the right. As you can see the old lens is much busier and has many more features than the new lens. These additional features caused flow issues during the casting process that created banding in the lens that made many of the units unusable and significantly degraded the quality of the images. It took me 2 years to source a new manufacturer that could make working clear lenses, and that was after several designs, prototypes and manufacturing attempts.

Why not use all new components ?

All the parts are unused and have not been assembled into a product before. It would be a shameful waste to dispose of the the existing components for identical parts.

How many can you make ?

I can make several hundred before I have to retool. Finding a manufacturer with experience tooling parts for optical assemblies is not easy. It is a specialized form of manufacturing and many facilities do not have the experience that is also required. 

How do you make the retrofit items ?

I have several very large boxes this components that I received from the manufacturer. The mirror component needs to be glued onto the base of the black cap. Then the main body component needs to be shaved slightly to make the new lens component fit. Once the lens is seated in place either for transit or for use, the remaining tightness of the fit is sufficiently relaxed so that there is no further problem. 

Will you tool a new production ?

Yes ! This is something that I want to do with Kickstarter. I have found a new manufacturer that can make the lens components. The remaining parts are simple plastic die cast. I can tool up and start selling with the income generated here. When I have sold all the retrofit units I will add another batch of units that will ship after the tooling and manufacturing process has completed.

Who will assemble the new units ?

If there are less than a couple of thousand units then I will make them myself. When I get into it I can assemble and dispatch about 60 - 80 a day ( more if I really have to !). However, if there are zillions and zillions of orders then I will have to look at outsourcing this to ( hopefully ) one of my existing manufacturing partners. Or I could employ a few folks and do it with a short production run of my own.

What will the new tooling achieve ?

First of all, I will have a new solution for production in the long run. Currently I have parts that have been manufactured at different times by different manufacturer to differing model specifications. This process will harmonize the output from the factories so that they are aligned in the timing of production and the specification of the product.

The molds need to be changed to adapt the new product model. 

Redundant Feature
Redundant Feature

This extrusion was used to clip the lens into the model, but it is unnecessary as the goodness of fit is sufficient to hold the assembly together when in use and in transit. With the news lens solution the mate that is creates is too tight for most peoples grip ( including my own). 

When I assemble the retrofit items I will remove this tiny feature by hand, and there will not be any visible defect or blemish. Although this is simple procedure, to do so for future stock would be extremely time consuming. 

Production Schedule

Assembly and conversion of the retrofit stock will begin immediately. This will take about 2 weeks and will be dispatched as soon as funds from Kickstarter have been received. 

Once funds are received the production of components will be commissioned from my manufacturers. The mirror and structural parts will be made in China and the lens will be made in India. This will take about 25 working days and shipping will take less then the 10 days scheduled as shipping will be by airfreight, this schedules some contingency into the program. When received they will assembled and shipped immediately.

Further Development

All the capital raised from the disposal of retrofitted stock will cover the cost of retooling and manufacturing the parts. There are many additional enhancements that I would like to add to the new production that are listed here as stretch-out awards.

Stretch Out £21,000 - New Production

This will unlock rewards from the newly tooled production run. The pricing will be as follows :-

  • £49        One new production pieces
  • £89        Two new production pieces
  • £199      Five new production pieces
  • £299      Ten new production pieces

Stretch Out £35,000 - Draw String Bag

For all customers of either the retrofit stock or the new production a drawstring bag to further protect the mirror and lens from damage during transit.

Stretch Out £45,000 - Wrist Strap

For all customers of either the retrofit stock or the new production a wrist strap. Hopefully this will reduce the likelihood of dropping the device and breaking it.

Stretch Out £65,000 - Software Installer

The software is currently distributed as executable files for either Mac or Windows. This is simple and easy for me as a developer, but many computer users are a discouraged from using the software if it is distributed in this manner. Adding installation processes to the software will make the experience of using my software more satisfying.

Stretch Out - £85,000 - 8 Exact Adapters

The device adapts the body of the camera in the manner shown in the pics and video. I can add additional adapters for specific camera models by casting the surface of the camera and then producing a 3D scan that is then trimmed in CAD software to produce a pattern that can adapt a specified camera model exactly. These will be put on Shapeways and you will be able to print them out. There would be an independent and additional charge for the item payable to Shapeways. This would fit both the retrofit and new production models. I will poll the backers for the 8 most common / preferred camera bodies.

Stretch Out - £100,000 - Gift Packaging

This is perhaps the most important of the stretch out goals and it is certainly my personal 1st choice if I could pick only one of these goals. Good gift packaging that also serves as good point of sale packaging is expensive as it involves design and tooling. This would require an additional mold and also cutting die for printed display board material. This would not be available for the retrofit stock.

Stretch Out - £150,000 - Video Support

This is would extend the software component of the product to include the conversion of video files. This requires that extensive modifications to the software are made and therefor this would take about 3 months to complete. All kickstarter backers would be able to upgrade the software for free when new revisions are available.  

... and we can but dream

If the final stretch out is met I will add more ... but lets wait and see what happens first ;)

Retrofit units will arrive in time for Christmas

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

All of the risks and challenges have been mitigated as I have worked for years to source the right manufacturers. There have been problems in the past but now this project is ready.

The retrofit stock is as shown and there can not be any further issues to resolve. The new production of parts should proceed without problems as the issues have all been ironed out and there is nothing left to chance.

FAQ

  • I will post worldwide for no additional charge.

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  • The device is designed to be within the focus range of all pocket digital cameras. This is possible because there is some adjustment available to the user as the mirror is on a stem and can be moved up and down, so it is a telescopic apparatus. The mirror is always outside the minimum focal range and playing with the various modes that are available on digital cameras will find the best for your camera. As there are a very great many models of camera this was the only critical factor that had to be resolved. The mirror can be placed at over 13cm (5 inches) from the lens head, this ensures that it is possible to achieve focus. ( To be most honest I must say that I have not come across a camera that cannot take a photo in any mode on a digital camera )

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  • Yes. The base of the device has a circular recess that is designed to adapt a filter ring adapter so it is possible to mount a pro lens head. You will need to glue the adapter into the cavity as I was unable to manufacture that part with a thread.

    If you ask me for more details of the lens head and model that you need info for I will post the exact filter ring adapter details here for you.

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