Maxwell Smart’s shoe-phone may have been an early appearance of “wearable” communications, but today it’s all about video. That’s why our focus centered around “wearable” video solutions when attending the Wearable Tech Expo in Burbank, CA. Boy did we find one in the Pivothead SMART, a pair of sunglasses that has little to do with shielding the eyes but a lot when it comes to streaming point-of-view Full HD video. We grabbed the company’s marketing director, Tony Luce, to get the details.
Videomaker: Pivothead SMART isn’t the first pair of glasses you’ve made, correct?
Pivothead Marketing Director, Tony Luce: Pivothead launched in June of 2011 with 4 models and 15 styles. The Durango, Moab, Recon, and Auroras were the original 4 models with multiple styles for each model.
The new model is called Pivothead SMART and comes in two different styles — the Teller and the Colfax. It’s designed to address key feature requests from our user base — namely replaceable power, upgradeable memory, wireless connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth), live-streaming capability, and an indoor model.
We’ve incorporated a revolutionary new modular approach to smart glasses — SMARTMods— with three being available for the Pivothead SMART eyewear: the Fuel Mod, the Live Mod, and the Air Mod. The Fuel Mod is a snap-on power accessory that allows for continual recharging of the glasses. The Live Mod has onboard WiFi and micro SD card support — allowing users to upgrade their device memory and also to share what they are seeing in real-time with Full HD (1080p, 30fps) live-streaming capabilities. The Air Mod is our most feature-filled mod — with onboard Wifi, Bluetooth LE, GPS, Gyro, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Micro SD Card support, an audio jack, a built-in speaker, and runs on Android OS (allowing on-mod installation of standard Android applications).
Videomaker: How do you shoot video?
Luce: Shooting videos with Pivotheads is simple. We have a switch located on the top left of the glasses. Pushing forward on the switch starts shooting video which is recorded to the onboard memory. Pushing backward on the switch initiates image capture (still, burst, or time-lapse modes). The on/off button is located on the lower left side of the device. Recording resolutions can be changed on the glasses by holding the video capture button down and verifying changes with LED indications. The person wearing them sees what they are recording. That's the great thing about Pivotheads – unlike point-and-shoot cameras or mobile phone cameras – which actually prohibit you from remembering the moment according to recent studies – with Pivotheads you are immersed in the experience of what you want to capture.
Videomaker: What are the specs for video?
Luce: All Pivotheads record Full HD Video (1080p, 30fps) as well as optional video recording modes of 720p, 60fps or 720p, 30fps. For photographs, Pivotheads capture 8 megapixel images and have configurable burst (up to 16 images) and time-lapse modes (1 picture /1 second, for example).
Videomaker: How do you keep track of what is going on?
Luce: The Pivothead SMART LED Light Guide is a strip of lights located across the inside-top of the glasses that serves a few purposes. First — it allows users to know when they are recording or capturing media, and it also will give heads-up display about the status of their glasses – power and memory status, for example. Secondly — it was designed as a way for 3rd party apps to integrate with the user via Pivothead SMART's SDK. A good example of how this might be used is the potential integration of Google Maps for turn-by-turn assistance. Or perhaps with Facebook for chat notifications. The possibilities are endless and we can't wait to see what the developer community will create with this capability. We feel that HUD's in their current form, such as on Google Glass, create a barrier to natural social interaction. They also require enormous amounts of power and processing throughput — both of which we were unwilling to sacrifice in exchange for poorer video and image quality. Until those basic problems of a HUD are resolved through better technology we say the LED Light Guide is a better solution.
Videomaker: Tell us about the live streaming capabilities.
Luce: Right now Live Streaming has not yet been released publicly. However, currently our Pivothead SMART glasses will have the ability to stream in Full HD directly to connected WiFi networks using either the Air Mod or the Live Mod. This means a user will be able to share their live view either remotely or locally using Pivothead's software suite and through 3rd party apps integrated via the Pivothead SDK.
Luce pointed out that the Pivothead SMART will have control and management applications in Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, with a focus on control and configuration of the glasses, as well as glasses-created media download and management, and integrated Live streaming capabilities. Onboard Bluetooth LE will allow users to connect via their phone or computer to change image and video capture settings, activate video or image capture remotely, and receive notifications from connected devices. And yes, they look pretty stylish when worn too.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology and consumer electronics freelance writer.