Introducing FireFly Laser Radar DSLR Camera Trigger
FireFly is the world’s first truly integrated Laser DSLR Camera Trigger for capturing action shots of objects passing through a “Line in Space”. Imagine being able to place a segment of invisible string anywhere in space. Make it any length you want (up to 10 meters). Now point your camera at that same spot in space. Anything passing through your line will automatically trigger your cameras shutter, allowing you to capture the perfect action shot! FireFly is unlike any other “laser trigger” on the market. Unlike other so called “laser triggers” that require a separate pen laser aimed precisely into a sensor, FireFly’s laser is built into the unit. Additionally, the FireFly laser is an Eye-Safe, Invisible Infrared Laser, making it both ideal and completely safe for human subject photography.
FireFly comes with a built-in ¼-20 socket for easy attachment to a tripod or other camera attachment. FireFly is also compatible with a number of remote shutter/flash devices (e.g. PocketWizard) for applications requiring a greater distance between your camera and the FireFly device. Cables up to 50 ft can also be used. The FireFly idea integrates an innovative and inexpensive “Laser Range Finder” design with a proven camera trigger concept, originally designed by the AEO Nature Photography Design Team, taking the “Laser Camera Trigger” concept to a totally new level!
The FireFly Idea… It started with a Conversation
One afternoon we received a phone call from a customer who was using an AEO MultiTrigger Pro attempting to set up for some automatic shots of a wedding, capturing each of the wedding party as they progressed down the aisle passing the camera on a tripod. “The motion activated trigger just wouldn’t do…”, he said, it had too wide of a field of view, triggering too often. It would also trigger at movement in the background (of which there’s a LOT at a wedding). He had heard of “Laser Triggers” on the market that might work for his application, but was (correctly) concerned about the tedious setup and eye-safety hazards those products posed, not to mention having a red laser line or dot on all of his subjects, or even trying to get a pen laser to stay on without major modification! He suggested we develop a laser trigger that had an integrated laser and was eye safe and invisible. After a few weeks of design work, we came up with something we thought would greatly surpass what our customer was looking for: A Laser Radar trigger which would emit an eye-safe, invisible beam, and would trigger when an object passed thru the beam. Since our design utilized an active laser/sensor combination, we had the additional ability of measuring the range to the object passing thru the laser beam. That gave us the idea to add a “Laser Ranging” capability to the triggering mechanism. In other words, we now could define a line SEGMENT, of any length (within operational limits) in which objects passing through would activate the camera’s shutter. There was nothing like it out there!
Obviously, there's the wedding photography application. The photographer who originally contacted us about this idea not only wanted automated shots of individuals walking down the aisle, but also action shots of children from the wedding party running through a field, as well as “hidden camera” shots of the bride and groom as they strolled together far from everyone else.
But it’s not just for weddings! Including the classic “horserace finish” action shot, FireFly will be ideal for any sport where a “photo finish” is possible. With the programmable LADAR function, a “Spot in Space” can be defined for shots in the air. Track & field photography applications are another great example.
Then there’s the whole field of nature photography action shots…
How Does FireFly Work??
How FireFly is Programmed and Used
STEP 2 -Now place an object at your desired Point "A". It can be anything... Your hand or just someone standing there for you. As that object intersects the FireFly's emitted laser line, the "Signal" LED will illuminate, indicating that FireFly see's your object and is ready to calculate the range of Point "A"...
Now PRESS the Program Button, and then release....
Point "A" is now programmed. The Point "A" LED will turn Green, and the Point "B" LED will begin Flashing....
STEP 3 - Now repeat the same programming step for Point "B". Move your target to that point in space and PRESS the Programming Button once again. The Point "B" LED will turn Green and the ARMED LED will also illuminate Green...
FireFly is now Armed and Ready. Any objects passing through the defined line segment between Points "A" and "B" will cause the TRIGGER LED to illuminate and instantly trigger your camera's shutter release.
If you want to reprogram FireFly, simply re-press the Programming Button. FireFly will then re-enter programming mode and you can repeat the process starting at STEP 1.
Help us Finish for Some Great Rewards
In the rewards category we’ll be offering two versions of the FireFly device. The BASIC version will include all of the features we’ve discussed so far, including a ¼-20 built in tripod/camera mount, 3 rechargeable Lithium AA batteries, and a cable that you can specify for your particular camera. The PREMIUM version includes all of the features of the BASIC, but with added optical filtering for catching objects that might have low IR reflectivity, a locking hot-shoe mount accessory that fits the ¼-20 device mount, and a separate Li-Ion battery charger.
The most EXCITING Rewards (we think) are the Beta Test Activity Rewards. We've reserved 100 units (50 Basic and 50 Premium) for early delivery to those supporters who want to participate in the early Beta Test Software Refinement phase. You'll interact directly with the design team, providing us feedback towards fine tuning the software. These units are also discounted over the regular production rewards. (Don't worry, if there's significant bugs, we'll re-program your Beta Unit with the updated software at the end of our Production Reward Phase).
FireFly is compatible with most DSLR Cameras out there. Camera compatibility and cable selection is listed below. If you don’t see your camera listed, that doesn’t mean it won’t work. Send us a note and we’ll help you find the correct cable.
We've been working for more than a year on this project and it's nearly complete. Our Circuit card design is through the prototype phase and we have pre-production runs of those prototypes working now.
Our enclosure design is also complete and we've done all the First Article Inspection activities to ensure proper fit and function of electronics, optics and enclosure. What's left is our enclosure injection mold tooling fabrication, a significant and costly item! Taking FireFly to the next step will require some "financial help", and for that reason we've turned to KickStarter to help us get there.
Use of Funds
Risks and challenges
Since Production Tooling is our main use-of-funds, the schedules (and pitfalls) associated with that phase will represent the greatest risk for on time delivery of FireFly. Balancing this risk, however, is the experience of the AEO design team... We've done this before, both in our previous aerospace lives, and as reputable designers of consumer electronics for photography applications under the AEO brand.
Aside from our tooling challenges, the bulk of all other potential risks have already been mitigated. Electronics design is complete and we are well into the refinement/test phase. We already have production grade circuit card assemblies performing in field tests with some very exciting results!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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