Crowdfunding Spotlight: Enfojer on IndieGogo

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Enfojer on IndieGogo

Feb 26, 2014

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight focuses on a project that, honestly, blew my mind. I have always been interested in film photography, and I recently started collecting old cameras, and something that has always eluded me about digital is the lack of that hands on, tactile nature of film. A design group from Croatia has created a way to develop real, black and white analog photographs from the snapshots saved on smartphones. Seeing as mobile camera technology has advanced so rapidly in recent years it really has become a viable way to take above average photographs, and what could be better than being able to go into a darkroom and make prints of those high quality photographs. What Enfojer is, essentially, is a stand that, when combined with the free app, turns most smartphones into an automatic exposure machine. Also included are trays, tongs, film, and a red darkroom light; everything needed to develop homemade prints save for the chemicals which are easy enough to find. The phone sits in the top of the stand and at the literal snap of fingers the screen turns off allowing for safe placing of the film. With another snap the screen turns on displaying the photo which is magnified via a lens to fill the size of the film and a timer configures the perfect exposure amount. When the screen again goes dark it is time to begin the three washes which are automatically timed as well.

The app gives full control over exposure settings while still offering assistance when needed. As someone who has spent time in a development lab, the addition of timing the ensuing steps is an much appreciated step that easily could have been overlooked. The entire package, including 100 pieces of Ilford quality photographic paper, was given for a $200 donation, and I can see that price rising, but not by much, and even then it would still be a tremendous deal considering all that is included.

20130920164039-fojo_kit

The bad news here is that this project was not successfully funded on IndieGoGo, but money has come into the project and they have stormed ahead nevertheless. Parts have been injection molded and final designs have been going out after initial delays due to some structure reinforcing due to a lens change. Their website is up and running, and with an email address one can leave an email to be notified when the final product will be ready for pre-ordering.

I hope that everyone who reads this goes and shows their support for this incredibly ambitious product, because this is the kind of project that is made possible only through crowdfunding. This is a product that will inspire creativity, and for those with younger children, introduce a whole new generation to the fading art of film photography.

KickStarter Spotlight: Outerlands: Season One

KickStarter Spotlight: Outerlands: Season One

Feb 12, 2014

For this week’s KickStarter Spotlight, we here at Android Rundown, have expanded our horizons to shed some light onto a very deserving project in serious need of some attention. For me, growing up in the mid-to-late 90’s I never had a proper exposure to arcades which is something that I wish I had been able to really enjoy. Sure the local pizza joint had a Tekken machine in the back next to NFL Blitz but I never got the true experience of being in a crowded arcade enjoying the cutting edge of video game technology and entertainment. Most of my experiences with these endangered, beloved gaming foci has been retroactive; I guess one could say my mind has already been corrupted by the lavish graphics and convenience of console and PC gaming.

Even so, my curiosity and respect for the arcade has never quite diminished. For millions of people the arcade was their childhood, and like other forms of art or sporting history there needs to be a way of historical documentation and preservation for nostalgic entertainment as well as future intellectual study and comparison. It is certainly not hard for me to imagine my cousins in middle school having access to a ‘History of Video Games’ course by the time they reach college.

Outerlands poster art and a $10 pledge reward.

Outerlands poster art and a $10 pledge reward.

Due to the analog medium of the arcade and early home console era games most of these games have a very definite shelf life. Compared to CD’s or hard drives, a floppy disk breaks down fairly rapidly and for lesser known games there is a growing concern that all usable copies will be lost forever. Film crew Area 5 from San Fransisco has been working hard, traveling around the nation to find these remaining remnants of the past as well as highlight the many stories they find along the way. For anyone who is a fan of video game lore, this set of documentaries is sure to deliver plenty of insight with a generous helping of nostalgia on the side.

However, Outlands is more than just a historical lecture. A large focus of this documentary is about the people who are actively in contact with these games both in preserving the past and creating new exciting ways to play socially. This KickStarter is specifically for one-six episode season that, hopefully, is the beginning of something much more expansive. By splitting this project up into episodes it allows Area 5 to really focus in on specific individuals or generas without having to worry about making a transition to a different topic. The shear breadth of stories that this crew is aiming to report on is astounding and should make for an extremely compelling set of documentaries.

Unfortunately, part of the reason for writing this is because with just over 2 days remaining, Area 5 is still $31,000 away from successfully reaching their $210,000 goal. I hope that my thoughts here have brought this project to the attention to those who truly appreciate the art form that is slowly slipping out of societal consciousness. So, as always, please consider donating and help make this incredibly ambitious project become a reality.

KickStarter Spotlight: Rhino Shield

KickStarter Spotlight: Rhino Shield

Feb 20, 2013

If I thought about some of the least sexy things that I could write this KickStarter Spotlight on, I would imagine that plastic screen protectors would be somewhere near the top. These are the things that nobody wants on their device and, in my opinion, something that really muddles the advantage in having a swift, crisp display. So, that aside, for me to take up an entire blog post about a screen cover it must be fairly incredible. All the latest advancements in Corning’s Gorilla Glass and similar products have ushered in a new wave of advanced smartphone screens capable of being ever sensitive as well as strong. Unfortunately, things do happen. Every smartphone owner, including your’s truly, has that story of the time that they dropped their phone a mere foot and ended up with that disheartening spider-webbed glass. While we might not be able to do anything about the glass in modern phones there is certain control over what goes on that screen. Enter Evolutive Lab’s Rhino Shield which, among carrying on the animal moniker trend, is by-far-and-away the most unbelievable protection that I have ever seen.

Rhino Shield is a super-thin film that adheres to the glass on most smartphones and basically exists to absorb pretty much everything one could throw at it. The demo videos on the Rhino Shield KickStarter page are incredibly impressive and it truly is a marvel in modern technology. A video taken from CES shows the Rhino Shield protected glass shrugging off heavy impacts that had just previously shattered its unprotected counterparts and even, in one instance, a sheet of aluminum. After all that, the Evolutive Labs representative takes the piece of glass and puts 100 lbs of force directly onto the face, leaving an impression into the film, but leaving no damage on the actual glass. He notes that they are still testing to find the true breaking point of the glass, and judging by how well it performed in the demo it is not hard to imagine it being somewhere in the low 200’s. This is akin to the average individual placing their phone face up and physically standing on the screen with soccer cleats and not leaving so much as a scratch, because, oh yeah, Rhino Shield is also incredibly scratch and fingerprint resistant.

Most people spend hundreds of dollars on their phones and given the still-fragile nature of the glass that they are comprised of it makes sense to splurge a bit and grab something that is guaranteed to keep that phone protected with most everything short of an elephant. Unfortuanely, even with all this great press, Evolutive Labs is still about $34,000 short of their goal with just over 20 days remaining. So, I strongly encourage everyone to at least take a look at their page and watch the videos, because as always with KickStarter, if the goal is not reached no funding is given.