Funding for this project was suspended by Kickstarter on June 5, 2012.
About this project
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Thanks for the press we've received so far!
Recording video or taking pictures is clunky. You have to pull out your smart phone or your video camera, and hold it up. This immediately causes you to lose the use of your hands, and makes the entire situation you are recording clumsy & socially awkward. What if you could just touch a button on your eyewear and instantly start recording from the perspective of your eyes instead?
Vergence Labs is actually building it! We are working in an accelerated startup environment to create these stylish computing enabled social video sharing, trend setting electric powered sun glasses. Our product will record 1st person point of view, and have "magic-glass" (chromatic shifting conductive glass) lenses for an instant on/off “electric powered sunglass” feature. You can then share the experiences you record across social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It's a consumer electronics fashion accessory designed with technology to enable cool new social video and new electric sunglasses lens capabilities while being fashion-forward and stylish in the process.
Here are some work in progress frame styles fashioned after the classic yet edgy beatnik James Dean, Buddy Holly, Clark Kent styles that are geeky yet rebellious, stylish, and sci-fi comic-book superhero, all at the same time. We designed these and produced these frames in house and fabricated them using our MakerBot 3D printer! Fun. The glasses will be produced and branded under our newly established eyewear brand, Epiphany Eyewear!
YouGen.TV: Record & Share Your Own Point of View on the Web and via Apps.
Our web sharing site, YouGen.Tv will enable users to create social profiles and share 1st person POV “experiences” as their real “life memories” onto Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, from the same perspective, and point of view as they experienced them.
The video from the glasses will be available via our SDK for mobile devices so that other mobile app developers can have access to the video from the glasses. This will be great for other apps that already do Augmented Reality or Social Video sharing. Our goal for the YouGen.Tv app and website is to integrate with other apps and wearable computers that either use or output 1st person POV social video. We also plan to have time-synchronized data that can be loaded with the video -- for example, if you post an update to facebook or you tweet on twitter from the mobile app, then those updates can pop-up in the video at the actual time in the video when you posted! Or if you wear products like the Nike Fuel or Fit Bit, with embedded sensors that output biometric data, we can synchronize this data together, with the point of view videos; such as calories burned, miles walked, pulse, body temperature, and more! Our goal is to create an "experience-sharing" web-platform, where people can share their best "experiences" as persistent memories with friends, family, and the ones they love -- and we believe "experiences" will become much more than video alone.
Educate & Learn using First Person Experience
The data captured from someone's first person perspective will be incredible for learning and seeing from other people's perspectives. Imagine all of the things you see, and that you could do to teach people -- based on what you do and see every day, while simply recording yourself doing the things you already do! Imagine the potential for education! You could even sell subscriptions to the videos you upload from your life-stream for others to learn from you. Everything from recording a professor's course lectures and sharing in real-time, to a mechanical engineer fixing a complex electric engine. Anything that requires your hands can now be easily captured with our simple friction-free fashion-forward stylish eye wear product. We believe the future of computing is "hands-free" and directly "wearable" experience, and this is the first step towards getting there. A world where everyone will have access to the information and the experiences they need directly within the context of their own reality and perspective; while simultaneously having the ability to record and share their own perspective for others to see. We believe this will raise the overall level of human empathy across the world so that everyone is able to see things more directly from the validity of other people's point of view.
Social video glasses will give people the ability to understand and quantify each other better. We believe that the quantification of self and the maintenance of self-identity is a critical step for the efficacy of the future wearable, near-ocular eye-glasses computer.
Below is an snapshot of real-time identity recognition software we have running on one of our early stage prototypes. This app processes video in real-time from the reality around you, and uses computer vision to recognize faces. When a face is detected, it crops the pixels, and sends them to a cloud service, using your facebook friends to look up the identity of the person. So, in other words, this app can recognize, remember and remind you of who your friends are (just in case you ever forget and need a polite reminder).
Thank you for your support! Please forward this project to all of your friends, post it on email lists, web forums, share on facebook, twitter and google plus, talk about it at lunch! :-) Thank you so much; we look forward to creating an incredible future together with you.
Team / Founder's Backgrounds
Erick Stephen Miller the founder/CEO has been called a "Renaissance Man" due to an insatiable desire to innovate and his tendency to mix art and technology. He's also an MBA from UCLA and National University of Singapore with over a decade of experience in hands-on computer graphics. Miller brings to the table over 10+ years professional experience at companies such as Disney, Digital Domain and Sony. Erick has written many complex 3D software systems as a Technical Director, authored 5 books, is published by the ACM, and has managed multi-million dollar software projects in the context of Technology Management. Erick has also sat on several review boards, including Autodesk's CTO council and the ACM's unified jury where he's been a Siggraph Session Chair.
Jon Rodriguez is the Chief Science Officer, and a Stanford Computer Science Engineer (with honors). When starting Vergence Labs, Jon was the same age as Steve Jobs when he teamed up with Wozniak and founded Apple. Jon already has invaluable professional engineering experience at hot web companies like Qik and Facebook. Jon is also an active mechatronics hacker and a self proclaimed trans-humanist. Jon was teaching himself advanced algorithms and AI programming in grade school, and by the 8th grade he had programmed a six-legged robot to adapt to hardware injuries by evolving its own motor control code. By the 12th grade, he created a long-range infrared sensor for search and rescue robots, won an Intel competition and met Craig Barrett, who was the Chairman and CEO of Intel! Jon and Erick recently had the privilege of meeting Craig Barrett -- he was super cool and even tried on our prototype electric eye wear!
Craig Barrett, the world-recognized technology executive, and former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Intel, trying on our electrochromic sunglasses!
Jon and Erick's professional experience includes companies such as: Disney, Facebook, Sony, Quik, Digital Domain (and more).
FAQ: How did Erick and Jon meet?
Vergence Labs was officially founded by Erick Miller and Jon Rodriguez at the very end of 2011 (about two days before the 2012 new year), after the two of them met on kickstarter; although the beginnings of the company dates back much further than this independently by the two founders. Jon and Erick first began working together for about 7 (seven) months prior to deciding they were a great co-founding team, and taking the leap to create the company Vergence Labs, Inc. and then getting accepted into the highly prestigious Stanford start-up accellerator, StartX. The best part about Jon and Erick's story is how they met -- they actually met ON KICKSTARTER! We think kickstarter is so awesome, for helping us get started that we decided to make this promo video telling everyone about it:
Yes, Fixed focus, but with a very nice focal range and high quality HD video
Current record time is max about 2-3hrs -- we are doing our best to get it up for 6-8hrs in the shippable production model.
Once your batter life is gone, will the transition of light to dark on the glasses also stop working & will it be stuck in its current mode or return back to light?
When there is no power supplied to the "magic" sunglasses (electrochromic), they leave the darkened mode and return to the near transparent state.
Are the audios/videos transferable to computer for editing without the use of your social site for those of us not interested in your social site?
Currently we are testing between .AVI, MP4 and either h.264 (or) jpeg encoded MOV -- the exact encoding format is still to be determined, although we've had good results reading AVI from our chipset onto all platforms
What is going to set you apart from ZION's version aside from the light to dark capabilities on the lenses?
1) Quality. 2) Deliverability 3) Web sharing platform 4) API for external app developers 5) Electric powered sunglasses 6) Computer vision 7) Evolving product vision for the future of computing
Yes, the control to switch to sunglasses will ultimately be a small nearly hidden button that you can push to instantly turn on, and then push in again to flip 'em off at any time.
You mentioned the micro SD card will have 2 hours of hold time, does this mean if you do not get it transferred off the SD card the video will be lost, or just only 2 hours of total recording time?
We plan on sizing the SD card to match the amount of time required for a full recording experience with a fully charged battery. The final recording time & SD card required will depend on several factors, including the type of video encoding we ultimately decide upon. The goal is to never have the SD card fill up to the point where video can keep writing -- and when the battery runs out, you plug in to charge, and do the video transfer at that time as well.
We will have a standard warranty. We haven't established the terms of the warranty yet or have accurate estimates for the mean time between failure -- but rest assured, if your product is faulty, we will replace it at no charge within a reasonable time frame. Likely sometime in the 30 to 90 day timeframe, but again, this is to be determined.
What feature will signal you that it is currently recording / not recording and is that feature noticeable to others while recording? Is there a feature to notify you that your battery is low or about to die?
Current active recording is a very subtle LED light on the inside of the glasses. It is only visible in low-light conditions. For design reasons we don't feel it's practical to have a big flashing light on the outside of the glasses. We would like to include a battery power indicator as well, although this is currently not part of the glasses. When the battery dies, they simply lose power -- but are rechargeable. If we can work the battery life indicator into the final design within cost, we will certainly include it.
How water resistant will it be as far as rain, or possibly splashed with water, fall into a puddle, or say pushed into a pool (not expecting to swim with these, but these are real life scenarios )
The glasses are not designed for use in underwater conditions. Please only use the glasses in normal non-aqueous conditions. Of course small amounts of dripping, like from body-sweat should be fine -- but any amount of wet liquid splashing onto or into the electronics could cause damage. It is best, if this occurs, to very quickly attempt to then turn them off afterwards to give them time to dry, then after some time, turn them on again for testing -- although this is not fail safe and if they get wet, there is potential for permanent damage -- thus, we'd recommend only using in normal dry conditions.
I have glasses that I use for vision correction. Will the glasses (frames) work with prescription lenses?
If you need glasses in order to correct your vision, we have a plan for that to accomodate you.
We're designing the frames so the electric sunglass lenses are on the edge of the outer facing front, so that the inside of the frames have an additional groove to fit additional prescription lenses. We're not finalized with the design, but believe it will work great for those needing to add prescription lenses, but it's our intention to make this option work.
Alternately, if the prescription lenses are too thick, then a prescription lens can definitely be installed if the electric powered sunglass lenses left off. These are the two options we're currently looking at for prescription lens support, and are confident that one of these two options will work successfully, although we'd like to keep the electric sunglasses lenses in the final model and allow people to add the prescription lens separately.
Thanks for your support.
- (60 days)