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$3,728 pledged of $85,000 goal
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By AEO Photo
$3,728 pledged of $85,000 goal
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About

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.  

Early FireFly Conceptual Design Model
Early FireFly Conceptual Design Model

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!

FireFly Applications

 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??

Here’s a short video on how FireFly Functions…
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How FireFly is Programmed and Used

If you haven't already, take a quick look at the video above. The video explains the concept of a Trigger Line Segment defined by two points in space: Point "A" and Point "B" also called the "Near Range" and "Far Range", respectively.  

As illustrated in the video, FireFly triggers your camera when an object passes through a line segment defined by those  two specific points in space.  Programming these points (Point "A" and Point "B") is a simple 3 Step process.  Here's how it's done:

STEP 1 - Set up your camera and FireFly in the orientation you desire with the FireFly Trigger pointing along the line you wish to define your "Triggering Segment".  When you initially power up FireFly it will enter "Programming Mode", the first step of which is defining Point "A" of that triggering line segment.  The Point "A" LED will flash YELLOW at this point as shown below...

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).

Camera Compatibility

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.

Project Schedule

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.  

FireFly Pre-Production Proto CCA
FireFly Pre-Production Proto CCA

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

Our funding goal of $85,000 is what we've calculated as necessary to complete our tooling design, procure the tooling, purchase parts ONLY related to promised rewards, and to ship those rewards.  We've already made significant investments in both design and capital equipment.   NONE of the proposed funding has been earmarked for any marketing or video production for this campaign... We produced all of that ourselves (sorry if it doesn't come off as professional as some campaigns :), and on our own nickel.  We have invested significant time and money in this project and are motivated to make it successful and on time. 


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!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THANK YOU!
    We'll place your name on our website as a FireFly supporter. You'll also be given password access to our project blog and updates.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A SUPER THANK YOU!!
    We'll place your name on our website as a FireFly supporter. You'll also be given password access to our project blog and updates. You'll also receive a digital certificate signed by the FireFly Team expressing our Thanks & Gratitude for your support.

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    Pledge $185 or more About $185

    EARLY BETA TEST FireFly BASIC
    You will receive a first batch Basic FireFly device and participate in our Beta Testing Activity. You'll be given exclusive access to our Beta Test forum and provide feedback to our software design team. Also please specify cable type (included).

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    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    FireFly BASIC
    You'll receive a basic FireFly Laser Radar Camera Trigger, including Cable compatable with your camera (please specify cable type).

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    Pledge $229 or more About $229

    EARLY BETA TEST FireFly PREMIUM
    You will receive a first batch PREMIUM FireFly device and participate in our Beta Testing Activity. You'll be given exclusive access to our Beta Test forum and provide feedback to our software design team. Also please specify cable type (included).

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    Pledge $249 or more About $249

    FireFly PREMIUM
    You'll receive a PREMIUM FireFly Laser Radar Camera Trigger, including Cable compatible with your camera (please specify cable type).

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    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    TWO PACK FireFly BASIC - ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR NUMBER TWO!
    You'll receive 2 basic FireFly Laser Radar Camera Triggers, including Cables compatible with your camera (please specify each cable type).

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    TWO PACK FireFly PREMIUM - ONE FOR YOU, AND ONE FOR NUMBER TWO!
    You'll receive 2 PREMIUM FireFly Laser Radar Camera Triggers, including Cables compatible with your camera (please specify each cable type).

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    Pledge $895 or more About $895

    CAMERA CLUB BASIC
    Five FireFly Basic Devices for your club. Includes 5 camera cables of your choice.

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    Pledge $1,145 or more About $1,145

    CAMERA CLUB PREMIUM
    Five FireFly Premium Devices for your club. Includes 5 camera cables of your choice.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    DINNER WITH THE INVENTORS
    Join the design team for a night out. We'll talk Ideas and other such stuff. Of course, you'll also get one of everything we make as well. No airfare or hotel, though... you've got to come to us, but we'll try to make it at a central, fun, convenient location (Maybe Vegas ???)

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Funding period

- (45 days)