Life and Tech #26: A weird camera gets a lot of attention

This is the newsletter I sent out via email this week to people who subscribed at http://eepurl.com/bjalx5 I had lunch today with entrepreneur and investor Jason McCabe Calacanis.

We compared notes on some cool things. He had just seen DeepStream VR, which lets hospital patients escape pain by using virtual reality instead of hitting the drug button:http://wp.deepstreamvr.com/ We started comparing different things we had seen and social networks we’re into. He’s a Twitter guy, I’m a Facebook guy. I’ve noticed that people who are either rich or running companies tend to like Twitter more (Marc Benioff, who runs Salesforce, recently closed his Facebook account). I asked him why that was, and Jason answered, “there are more business over on Twitter.” Funny, that’s the reason I’m on Facebook. But it shows that we’re both always hustling, looking for customers and people building businesses.

One reason, I told him, that Facebook works better for me, is because most of the journalists agree with him, which has left me with more “space” to take over on Facebook. In journalism school I learned that the real story isn’t where the herd is going, but where the herd is not. Often that’s where a new answer is.

Which brings me to the Light.co camera. Where Nikon and Canon and other manufacturers have set out to perfect the SLR (Single Lens Reflex), and are making row after row of cameras with single lenses, Light.co has innovated by using 13 different low-cost sensors and joining those with software.

When Light.co cofounder and CTO Rajiv Laroia wanted a new camera, he thought, “Why am I carrying all these lenses?”

He didn’t start out with old assumptions. Of course, he knows technology deeply, he was one of the key players behind LTE, which our mobile phones now use to communicate.

He knew that a new approach to cameras was possible, so he studied optics, but he also looked away from traditional approaches that used a single lens. Instead, he used the R&D of the smartphone world to his advantage.

Every time you shoot an image with his new camera, it joins 10 sensors together thanks to algorithms and lenses that will capture everything from wide angles to telephoto images, in one photo.

I got one of the first looks last week at the Code/Mobile conference that Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher run. Why did I get a first look? I had videoed CEO Dave Grannan on his previous startup and he called me over. The video I shot has been viewed 3.8 million times: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153637361384655/ It’s my most popular video by far, and it shows that putting yourself in play, even in weird places, often brings opportunities all on its own.

Now, some questions still remain. Grannan showed me the images it shot on his laptop. They looked great, but will they stand up against a modern DSLR? I doubt it, at least at first. That point of view though, is missing the point.

This is arguably the future of photography. Will Nikon and Canon have the economic power to improve big sensors more than Google and Apple and the rest of the smartphone industry have? No.

So long term, this “computational photography” camera is the way forward. It won’t be the last one we see, either. Now that we’re headed into a virtual reality world we’ll see many new camera designs.

For instance, watch the video of me interviewing the CEO of Jaunt, which just got $67 million in funding for its VR camera and service, and the former chief engineer of Oculus: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153648067164655

You can see two pioneers who aren’t looking at the world through the lens of “the way things once were.” I hope you’re watching these things, because they are inspiring people and inspiring products/companies.

More of what I’ve been seeing over the past week: ++++++ Here’s the amazing Oculus demo I got that turned me ultra bullish on VR: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153649326009655

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Daqri shows off how it is enabling AR in enterprises: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153648865314655 You look at a knob, and it “augments” and shows you what to do. Think this isn’t happening? Yesterday I visited a manufacturing line of the future at Jabil. My photos are at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153651160534655&set=a.10150326718589655.360975.501319654 They showed me a workstation where the work surface itself directed me on how to build a new product (and a camera overhead validated that I did it properly). This stuff is becoming real very quickly.

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Hive brings us a new, simpler collaboration service, which lets you use a bunch of different collaboration or messaging apps from Slack to email: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153648381149655/

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HomeCare apps get noticed by people who need to care for elderly parents: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153646884814655

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EMC sold to Dell in the largest tech deal ever: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153646172869655 All I have to say is “wow.” This means we’ll see a lot more Dell logos as we walk through our datacenters.

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Mobile developers:

Fuse Tools make building mobile apps and syncing changes easy: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153635304899655/

HelpShift lets mobile developers add support systems to their apps: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153622599434655/

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Great look at IFTTT’s data-handling back end: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153651685554655 I love that companies share this kind of data. It helps everyone figure out how to build complex back ends. It also helps our support teams figure out new patterns to build tooling and opinions for our customers at Rackspace, now that we’re supporting a number of different clouds, including AWS and Azure.

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Addappt shows me a contact manager. One that actually works and doesn’t spam your friends: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153637705629655/

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PARC shows me exploding chips: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153638953649655/ This is good for making sure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, or, maybe to help make chips more recyclable in future.

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Hello Alfred’s CEO shows me its butler app, which is doing well in New York and Boston: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153624992109655/

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Alphonso’s CEO shows me how he tracks TV: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153637692129655/

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Sync your smartphones’ speakers for louder music: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153646377069655/

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My SocialChat on Monday where we talk about Facebook on Blab.IM: https://www.facebook.com/alanknecht/posts/10153683800727152

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New luggage coming for you heavy travelers: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153650028569655/

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Reactions App shows a new way to engage smartphone users: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153637331184655/

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Personal trainer for everyone, Fitnet: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/vb.501319654/10153636086709655/

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Google Hangout: Meeting with Rackspace’s Fanatical Support for AWS teams: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153651704269655

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AWS for IoT:

https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153639422024655 This is a big deal; both Amazon and IBM announced new IoT-focused clouds. Add in Salesforce. Which one are you going to use?

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A new hybrid 3D printer (It extrudes, it cuts, it burns): https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153651950379655/

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Ask this service any question — great for questions that Google can’t answer: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153651982359655/

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One app I keep using on my Apple Watch is Facebook’s Messenger. Great, now you all will send me more messages knowing you can get my attention even if I’m not looking at my phone: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153638984084655

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Google has released a VR version of Street View for its Cardboard users:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153639469329655 I’m hearing that soon the New York Times will send millions of Cardboards to its subscribers.

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My talk to marketers at Hubspot’s Inbound conference: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153640264799655 It’s all about the latest innovations I’ve been seeing.

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Ubeam has an interesting way to send power through the air to your devices via ultrasound and here they reveal how it works: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153640782969655

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CalledIt — Social Network for predicting things: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153652193229655/

++++++ A look at how music has been devalued both by technology and culture: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153644680359655

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How is San Francisco different? This startup shows where you can borrow a mobile battery: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153652254169655&set=a.458123019654.251938.501319654

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John Borthwick, who runs the Betaworks startup accelerator in New York, held a “Notification Summit” for developers a couple of weeks ago that I attended (it was quite awesome). Here’s what he had to share: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153640845894655

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It’s neat that Rackspace has partnered up with the Airforce: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153646471559655

Ahead? I’ll be in Dubai on Monday to meet Rackspace customers and speak at the large GITEX conference there. The week after that I’ll be in Kansas and then head to Australia. I’m always looking to find out where the future of business is headed. Do you know? Drop me a line at scoble@rackspace.com

May your week see lots of great partnerships!

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As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you. Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.

I read all my email at scoble@rackspace.com and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1–425–205–1921 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble.

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here: http://eepurl.com/bjalx5 And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at http://www.gapingvoid.com

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