There’s only one aspect of modern tech culture I hate more than the shrugging kaomoji (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) and that’s selfie sticks. Which is why I was delighted to hear about Podo – a smartphone-controlled camera that could kill the damn things off.
The brightly colored, remotely-activated camera can stick to pretty much any solid surface, using a combination of a suction pad that’s exposed when you rotate a flap and a strong magnet. The sucker can be cleaned with water to refresh its stickiness and the flap is replaceable for when it finally loses its grip.
The camera itself hooks up to your phone to iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth. There’s no buttons – you just double tap to turn it on and off – and your pictures are auto-orientated by a built-in accelerometer. It’ll capture stills, videos, time lapse and GIFs.
Podo was founded last year and has received $1.5 million in funding from Kima Ventures, PCH, Future Play, Seedcamp, Bon Angels and a collection of angel investors. But, as is par for the course with hardware projects these days, it’s launching the device with a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign.
Podo co-founder Eddie Lee tells TNW: “We always wanted to be on Kickstarter because you get people there who love technology and give really good feedback. When we go to retail and mass production in the autumn, we’ll have a good three months of people using it.”
A limited number of early Kickstarter backers will be able to get the device for $79 but most will have to stump up $89. The campaign ends in April and Podo says it’ll start shipping devices by August. The retail version will cost $99 when it launches later in the year.
Like a lot of startups, Podo was born out of an entirely different idea. Lee and his two co-founders, friends from their time at UC Berkley, were originally working on a really boring app idea. He says:
“Our original startup was a mobile app to show ads to people. Our first investor liked us a team but said we really needed to change our product. We sat down to work something out but it didn’t happen that way. We were taking lots of group photos and someone would always get left out. The idea of building hardware sprang from that.”
The team went on to take part in PCH’s Highway1 hardware accelerator, which involved mentorship and a visit to Shenzhen which gave them valuable insights into the modern manufacturing process.
They knew they had to create a device that “makes taking pictures as easy as using your phone does.” That’s why Podo doesn’t feature any buttons, hooks up automatically once you’ve paired it with your phone and auto-orientates your snaps.
On the question of how Podo will survive its travels in people’s bags, Lee says his team have been putting it through its paces: “We are doing reliability tests with six feet falls onto concrete and it survives well. It’ll be fine in your bag. It’s also pretty water resistant. The only exposure is the USB connector but there’s a rubber cover there.”
I’ll have to wait to get my hands on a device before I can judge how robust the final article really is and how well it delivers on the promise of grabbing remote snaps but if it can shove the selfie stick into the closet of history, it’s got my vote.
Image credits: Podo
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