My name is Stacy Nimmo. For most of my career, l’ve been a video director. With video, it’s essential to capture nonverbal communication – it keeps us mentally and emotionally engaged in the story.
With the camera above the screen, however, there’s a disconnect for most visual communication cues. When you think you’re making eye contact, it appears you’re looking down. If you look into the camera, you seem to be making eye contact, but really your not seeing them at all. This makes the whole call feel unnatural. As your eyes roam from camera to person, it’s hard to focus, and you end up looking nervous
The iContact Camera basically tries to help you maintain eye contact with your camera. This is nothing innovative and there are several solutions to this in the market already.
The creator admits as much:
I researched the options that were on the market and realized that they didn’t suit me. Trying to solve the problem of lost
eye contact, they create a new inconvenience:
• bulky design
• complicated mounts
• sloppy manufacturing
In fact, we have seen a similar product on Kickstarter before called Center Cam.
While we haven’t used Center Cam before, the reviews and feedback from users seem good. It uses a simple clamp. I’m not sure if that’s what Stacy considers a bulky design and complicated mount.
Is it worth it?
The iContact Camera sells for USD 109 during Kickstarter and will retail at USD 125.
Meanwhile, Center Cam retails for USD 120 on Amazon. There are many other similar products on Amazon that are cheaper. This Pipishell webcam retails for USD 22 on Amazon.
What are the alternatives?
Besides hardware products like Center Cam and iContact Camera to let you maintain eye contact with the camera, there are software solutions.
Apple added the FaceTime Attention Correction in 2019.
In 2020, Microsoft uses AI to adjust where your eye is looking and apply it automatically to any app using the Surface Pro X’s camera.
There are other solutions like FaceStream AICONTACT and NUIA Full Focus from 4tiitoo.
Sure, some people might find that using AI to fake the eye contact via software looks a bit unnatural. We have tried it and, to be honest, it is not that noticeable in actual use.
Is it a scam?
The campaign is pretty transparent with the creator behind the project. You can also see Stacy posting about the campaign on his LinkedIn.
However, we see nothing about the team behind this, although collaborators like Alex Demin and Muhammad Haris are involved in replying to comments.
The photos show what looks like a Chinese factory with the product packaging ready with the manual. However, the photos don’t show the iContact Camera produced and assembled for packaging.
In fact, we’ve only seen 3D prints of the product and renders on the campaign page. Us being critical furballs, we will remain skeptical until we see the actual iContact Camera.
This is a potential red flag, especially when their timeline states that production starts on October 28. They should post an update with photos of the mass production units by now. Even if the factory is in China, I’m sure they can get their suppliers to take photos to share in an update.
Should production be delayed, the creator should post an update to let backers know.
The campaign looks legitimate enough, but our gut is somewhat queasy. We won’t rule out the possibility that it is a scam, but we sure hope it is a legit product, for the sake of the nearly one thousand backers on Kickstarter.
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