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Kiwi tech entrepreneur aims to hit the jackpot in Vegas

07 Jan 14

Kiwi entrepreneur Sam Lee has created a unique wearable camera with world-first Recall technology – and today he’s launching a crowd-funding campaign to get it to market.

Lee, from Wanaka, New Zealand, has co-designed meMINI – a tiny, lightweight and simple-to-use video camera that captures a moment after it’s happened and instantly stores the footage in the cloud, to be edited and shared later.

meMINI is a breakthrough in wearable camera technology, and Lee has taken his prototype to the famous Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where today (4pm New Zealand time; 7pm on January 6, Las Vegas time) he's launching his Kickstarter campaign to turn a dream into reality.

With the help of co-developer Ben Bodley, from Auckland specialist camera design company Teknique, plus Blender Design and the lab at Auckland University of Technology, meMINI working prototypes have been made ahead of the campaign launch.

It’s completely different to other wearable cameras in the marketplace. Attached to clothing with Magnatach – a specially-designed magnetic backing plate – meMINI captures footage with revolutionary Recall technology.

With a battery life of three hours, the 1080HD camera with image stabilisation is constantly rolling while it’s being worn. If something happens – a magic moment, a life experience, a hilarious joke – it’s caught on camera with Recall. Recall captures looped footage, adjustable from five seconds to five minutes. By simply pressing the Recall button, that moment is preserved and saved, ready to be shared in the cloud with meMINI software.

“I decided to create meMINI after years of being frustrated with traditional ways of filming, having to trawl through hours of unwanted footage just to find that one ‘stand-out’ moment of the day,” says Lee, also the original founder of freestyle snow sports resort Snow Park NZ.

“Or if I had managed to capture that moment, by the time I got round to editing and sharing the video, the moment had passed.

“With meMINI, it’s easy to hold on to moments that would otherwise be lost, and share them instantly with loved ones so they feel like they were part of the moment as well.

“It’s the only camera that allows you to experience the gift of hindsight and is perfect for families. It captures your experience, not the experience.”

Bodley says when Teknique began the design process for meMINI, he looked at technology based on how a black box recorder operates, where old information or footage is overwritten by new footage when the loop capacity is full.

Bodley chose a 160°-wide angle lens – which gives a wider perspective than a smart phone camera, which is 60°. “The meMINI camera is like the human perspective,” he says.

“It captures the whole scene, like your eyes would, so it makes it feel more like the moment that you were in, rather than just a tiny segment.”

The meMINI creators need $US50,000 to fund the manufacturing of the first 1000 cameras. Through the 30-day Kickstarter campaign, they’re seeking pledges from $5 upwards, with some early bird specials starting at USD$149 for the first meMINI cameras. After the successful Kickstarter campaign meMINI will retail for $US249.

“It’s exciting to be able to launch meMINI at the Consumer Electronics Show – it’s where the world’s innovators convene and provides the platform to introduce next-generation innovations to the global marketplace,” Lee adds.

Lee and Bodley will be in the United States until January 16 and the meMINI Kickstarter campaign ends on February 4.

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