Quebee crowdfunding campaign kicks off

Kiwi project promises to be ‘your own personal cameraman’.

Slide illustrating Quebee concept designs.
Slide illustrating Quebee concept designs.

Launched last night on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, the Kiwi-designed Quebee is a miniature, standalone camera that can be controlled by your smartphone or tablet, and captures video, stills or time-lapse photography.

Inside the Quebee is a ‘Full HD camera’ with ‘wide angle lens’ (exact specs for both unknown), high quality microphone, and a rechargeable battery that provides up to 5 hours of video recording, or up to 48 hours of time-lapse photo capture.

The camera will charge via USB – the prototype units we saw at the launch used the 5-pin mini USB connector that was popular before the rise of microUSB, and is still used on many cameras. We suggested the Quebee team move to microUSB, to allow users to charge the camera with the same cable used for their smartphone. Others have made the same suggestion, and at this stage in development, it’s likely that feedback will be taken on board.

Quebee prototype unit, no lens or internals.
Quebee prototype unit, no lens or internals.

Connectivity to smartphones and tablets is via Wi-Fi, with the Quebee either broadcasting its own hotspot, or joining an existing network. Bluetooth will also be available as a lower-power option, and for when Wi-Fi infrastructure is not available. Developers told us that a Wi-Fi connection would be necessary to stream video to a phone in real-time, as Bluetooth does not offer sufficient bandwidth.

The Quebee will record to an internal memory, and will automatically upload videos to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive when in range of a Wi-Fi network. Developers chose not to introduce a proprietary service for video storage, as it would be an unnecessary duplication of existing infrastructure.

The Quebee will measure 55 x 55 x 55mm, and will be made from a combination of plastic and aluminium. 30 special-edition titanium Quebee cameras are available with Kickstarter pledges of US$399 or more.

An UP Plus 3D printer generates baby Quebee units as a demonstration. The early prototype casings were 3D printed, and later prototypes were sintered for the improved finish.
An UP Plus 3D printer generates baby Quebee units as a demonstration. The early prototype casings were 3D printed, and later prototypes were sintered for the improved finish.

Though a New Zealand campaign, Quebee pledges are in US dollars, to appeal to the global market. For a hardware project like this with no New Zealand-specific angle, that seems a logical approach. Kickstarter will now accept New Zealand currency, but it’s an all-or-nothing approach – allowing New Zealanders to pledge in NZD would force global supporters to do the same. With USD the de-facto internet currency, Kickstarter’s NZ option is most applicable to inherently local projects.

As an introductory offer, 99 aluminium Quebee units were available at US$99 each – these were all sold out within 18 hours of last night’s launch event. At the time of writing, 168 aluminium Quebee units were available at the next-tier introductory price of US$149 each.

Once all introductory offers are over, the standard Kickstarter prices for the Quebee will be US$199 for the brushed-aluminium finish, or US$219 for anodized aluminium in one of seven colours. Final colours have not yet been decided.

Again at the time of writing, 138 backers have pledged $15,708 of the $100,000 goal. The campaign runs until 23 December, and in the traditional Kickstarter model, will only be funded if the goal is reached.

You can find the campaign at www.kickstarter.com/projects/quebee/quebee-your-own-personal-cameraman

During last night's launch, several attendees backed Quebee from their smartphones on the spot.
During last night's launch, several attendees backed Quebee from their smartphones on the spot.

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Harley Ogier

Harley Ogier

PC World New Zealand
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