Blink-triggered cameras are nothing new, with the space already occupied by some selfie cameras and Google Glass, but a project on a Japanese crowd-funding site looks to add a blink-to-shoot camera to any pair of glasses. The Blincam has already surpassed its crowdfunding goals by nearly tenfold, with $83,665 received at time of press.
Designed by Shota Takase, the camera snaps a photo at a forceful blink, using a sensor that differentiates between an intentional blink and a natural blink. Developers say the Blincam is 90 percent accurate at picking up a forceful blink using its patent-pending blink sensor. Using Bluetooth, the Blincam then sends the photo a smartphone.
According to the developers, the device isn’t designed to replace a camera, but to capture on-the-fly moments that would be otherwise missed in the time it takes to pull a camera out — because who hasn’t missed moments they wish they could have caught on camera? The Blincam can also help capture moments that are missed not from bad timing, but from having no free hands, such as when riding a bike.
While the initial funding suggests that the concept could be happily adopted by more than a few consumers (at least in Japan), past attempts at blink cameras haven’t really spread to the mainstream. Some point-and-shoot cameras use blink or even smile detection to activate selfies, and of course the feature exists inside smart glasses. Like earlier ideas, the Blincam does not solve certain issues, like the fact that you can’t really see what perspective you are shooting, and of course it raises the same privacy concerns that Google Glass gave rise to.
But Blincam does look like a viable option for getting Google Glass-style photos without actually committing to all the extras of smart glasses. Of course, users who don’t already wear glasses would have to pick up the Blincam mount or attach the camera to a pair of sunglasses. A pair of shades could help with another issue that blink cameras present — looking rather silly or even flirtatious while blinking.
Still, the idea of a blink camera that can be used on any pair of glasses is an intriguing one and has at least taken root sufficiently to secure nearly ten times what the designers were looking for. The camera also has a respectable four-hour battery life, or an eight-hour life on standby.
While it’s still fairly early in the camera’s development, Blincam is expected out early in 2017 with a retail price of $185.