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British newcomer OMG Life has created Autographer, an 'intelligent' wearable camera that uses an array of built-in sensors to take pictures automatically triggered by changes in its environment. It uses a semi-fisheye lens with a 136° angle of view in front of a 5MP backlit-CMOS sensor, and the shutter is triggered at key moments based on input from GPS, acceleration, direction, temperature, proximity and light sensors. The company thinks it should appeal to anyone interested in recording an event without having to operate a camera, or as an additional tool for documentary photographers. Images are stored in internal memory, and can be transferred to a smartphone using Bluetooth for viewing; alternatively they can be compiled into movies using the supplied software. It'll go on sale in November from the company's website for £399.
It would be easy, especially after the buzz of 'proper' photography announcements from Photokina, to dismiss Autographer purely as a gimmick - especially given the company name. But OMG Life is actually a consumer spin-off from the scientific imaging company Oxford Metrics Group, and the Autographer is a slimmed down, higher spec, consumer-friendly version of the Vicon Revue, an automatic camera that was originally designed to aid treatment of patients suffering from severe memory impairment such as Alzheimer's disease. So, in terms of the technology at least, there's a bit more substance behind it than you might at first think.
It's also, as far as we're aware, a unique concept; a camera that attempts to make informed decisions about the best time to take pictures. This marks it out from time-lapse devices which simply take pictures at pre-set intervals - the idea being that it's more likely to capture 'interesting' moments. Whether that's enough to persuade buyers to pay the asking price is a different question, but we're hoping to give one a try to see how well it works.
Document your life in a different way
24th September 2012, London: OMG Life today announces the launch of Autographer, a new type of digital camera that will change the way we think about photography.
Autographer – available to purchase in November 2012 – is a hands-free, automatic camera that can capture thousands of photographs a day through a custom wide-angle lens, enabling users to ‘see the unseen’.
Autographer uses five on-board sensors and GPS capability to identify the perfect time to take a photo, based on changes in light and colour, motion, direction and temperature. For instance, Autographer might capture an image when the wearer speeds up as they run for the bus, moves from a warm pub to a snowy street or turns around to greet a friend.
All the wearer has to do is put it on and go, and at the end of the day, watch their ‘unseen’ moments unfold through natural, unpredictable images and stop-frame videos, revealing a surprising new take on their world.
Simon Randall, Head of OMG Life, says, “The beauty of Autographer is that you don’t have to stop to take a photo or spend your day looking at life through a lens. You can live your experiences to the full while Autographer spontaneously captures the stories that happen all around you.
“Photos are a great way to document and share life experiences, but they can sometimes be a bit predictable with the same postcard views and posed smiles – pointing a camera lens at people often changes the fabric of the moment. Photographers go to great lengths to capture life in an authentic and natural way and see the Autographer as a great new way of effortlessly doing this.”
Simon adds, “We’ve spent a lot of time developing our wide-angle eye-view lens which is at the heart of the Autographer’s story-telling ability. It gives a unique first-person perspective that allows the wearer to tell their story uninhibited as they see it.
“Imagine it – your wedding day from a new angle, your child’s first birthday captured for posterity, the spectacle of a festival in all its glory or a surprising view on an African safari, even your cycle route to work mapped.
“Individual images offer a fascinating slice of life, while an Autographer stop-frame video lets you relive a whole day’s activity in just a few minutes. It’s not just a new camera but a whole new photographic approach.”
Autographer’s sensors capture metadata alongside the images, meaning users can reconstruct a unique digital record of their day – where they were, where they went, even what the temperature was.
They can then view and share their Autographer photos at the click of a button, or easily create story-telling mementoes such as GIFs and stop-frame videos using the Autographer editing software. Bluetooth connectivity also enables users to easily download their shots while on the move.
Simon adds, “Autographer doesn’t just effortlessly capture images, it captures stories. This offers limitless possibilities for creatives and professionals too. As the device is hands-free and wearable, it’s more versatile than a traditional camera in many circumstances; it’s only limited by the imagination of the wearer.
“It’s a perfect tool for the foreign correspondent on assignment, the artist wanting to document their creative journey or the art director wanting to capture the story behind the photo shoot.”
Autographer is created by Oxford Metrics Group (OMG), the Academy Award®-winning organisation behind some of the world’s most advanced motion-capture and image processing technologies.
Simon Randall says, “Since 2009, OMG has been responsible for developing Microsoft’s SenseCam technology, a wearable camera that automatically captures thousands of pictures a day. Marketed as Vicon Revue, it has proved of great value to people with memory impairment, helping them recover ‘lost’ memories and manage their lives more effectively.
“However, we always believed this ‘moment capture’ technology could have much wider applications, which is why we’re so excited to launch Autographer. We are hugely looking forward to seeing the innovative ways in which people will use Autographer to capture the unseen moments of daily life and the creative output this will inspire.”
Autographer will be available to buy online via www.autographer.com in November.
Autographer’s five sensors and GPS
*Specifications subject to change without notice.