Tiny visions of the future

The race is on to produce the world’s smallest digital video camera, with JVC announcing last week the launch of two new models giving near broadcast quality. But with those selling at around 1600 and 1800 each, the better eyeful for most of us has to be Scottish company Vision’s latest model, designed by Priestman Goode and just going on sale in the US through Rockwell for around $100 (62.50).

Priestman Goode founder Paul Priestman says the Vision camera is for the PC home- or office-user. The tiny cylindrical ‘eye’ plugs straight into the computer, so it needs no software of its own, and it can sit on top of the screen or be mounted on a tripod. The lens mimics the eye in the way it rotates in its socket. It can be directed at a person or object for real-time video-conferencing or 3D image-scanning, or with a click of the unit, tucked out of sight in the ‘privacy’ mode.

According to Priestman, the 70mm-long unit is designed as an extension of the computer cable. ‘We were after the Minox look – to make it as small as possible,’ he says. To create a perception of quality, it is slightly weighted – otherwise it might appear too lightweight – and a lot of thought has gone into getting the sound of the click just right.

Manufacture in China is controlled by computer. Priestman Goode’s Silicon Graphics system links with the manufacturer through e-mail, which, according to Priestman, gives ‘more freedom to do fluid shapes’. The computer generates stereolithographic models that are used to check tooling.

Keep your eyes on the market here. The Vision camera should be available shortly, retailing at about 100, says Priestman.

Designer: Priestman Goode

Clients: Vision and Rockwell

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