The three Johannesburg-based university students behind the Geco II Action Camera project on Indiegogo have confirmed that their tiny little camera will see production, even if the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign doesn’t succeed.
Prinesh Naidoo, Chief Technical Officer of the South African startup, said that the crowd-funding round is being used to both gauge interest in their product, as well as raise funds. However, almost all the work has been done for the camera to see production. Circuit board designs and housing moulds have all been finalised, and Naidoo says it’s just a matter of giving the Chinese manufacturing partner the go-ahead.
The current plan is to have the Geco II available for purchase by February or March, next year. International buyers will still be able to get it for $100 (around R1 100), including shipping. A partnership with the South African Post Office means that this part of their business plan has already been taken care of. Locally, they’ll be looking at stocking the Geco II in retail stores, though pricing isn’t confirmed just yet.
Prinesh, Mishka Naidoo, the design lead, and Dhiren Tahilram, engineering lead, say they’ve had excellent feedback so far, from potential buyers and backers on Indiegogo. Some international users are hesitant to pledge support, citing concerns that it could be a scam. Apparently Africa has a reputation for offering something that seems too good to be true, and tech-savvy people tend to be cautious, in this day and age of phishing schemes.
South Africans, on the other hand, have expressed a lot of interest in the Geco II, and are keen to get their hands on a locally-designed product. Prinesh says they’ve had excellent feedback, and thousands of emails from interested parties – including local venture capital firms.
A promising product with local innovation and design goes a long way. Along with local interest, the trio says they’ve also been made extremely tempting offers by investors in Brazil. Despite that, they say that they’re not in it to take the money and run. Prinesh explains that they’ve been working on the Geco for two years, and it’s their dream to start a company. Mishka adds that she’d like to see it materialise into something they can be proud of.
The Geco Mk II in detail
Not many people would believe that the world’s smallest and lightest action camera is a South African invention. Skeptics might point out that the innards of the Geco aren’t South African – but that’s just being overly negative. Few companies manufacture every single one of the components in their products.
To that end, the Geco’s memory, video processing, and image sensor chips are all existing production components. What the team has done, though, is develop its own circuit board, to accommodate everything in that tiny capsule. The design spec was to have a camera that could clip on to a pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses, without upsetting the balance. As a result, the Geco II weighs just 18 grams, with a 300mAh battery that’s good for 1 hour of recording.
Video quality might just be 720p, but it’s forgivable given the size of the camera, and it’ll actually be more than enough for most people. 1080p video is great when you’re editing an award-winning compilation, but 720p files are more manageable in size and less strain on the battery.
Ease-of-use and simplicity were also part of the design process. The team says they wanted to get rid of people enjoying their holidays and adventures through a camera’s rear display, and give them something that records life on the go. Something that doesn’t get in the way. Echoing this, the Geco II’s design only features a single button to start and stop recording, and no more.
Other action cameras have multiple options that can just get in the way, the Geco simplifies everything. But even though it’s designed to clip onto a pair of glasses, the Geco II can also be used in extreme sports. Like the extremely popular GoPro the Geco II will ship with its own waterproof housing rated for IP67 water and dust ingress protection.