Archives for January 2, 2013

New retail prints: Polaroid plans “Fotobars”


There’s not exactly a shortage of retail outlets at which you can make a standard print from a camera or phone photo. To move into the market you’d best be offering something at least a little different or better. Polaroid says it’s doing just that.

The company — a relatively new firm that acquired rights a few years back to the venerated name — announced it plans a series of “experiential retail stores where consumers can quickly and easily liberate their favorite images from the confines of their digital devices and turn them into museum-quality art.” Which means what, exactly? That you can get more than just A4 or dye-sub prints is what: Polaroid says its offerings will include a “variety of unique substrates including canvas, metal, acrylic, wood and bamboo.” The prints are also offered with a variety of framing options, and shipped within 72 hours.

What’s also interesting here is Polaroid says each Fotobar store will be “a gallery of its own, with creative, museum-quality pieces on display all around,” as “the ability to see, touch and feel examples of artworks produced using all of these unique materials is a critical aspect of the customer experience.”

The company plans to open at least ten Polaroid Fotobar locations in 2013, the first of which will be a 2,000 square-foot store in Delray Beach, Florida, and is slated to open in February. It has been in design and development for the past 12 months, the company adds. Future locations include New York, Las Vegas and Boston.

Polaroid says its Fotobar stores “will be the first of their kind retail destinations designed to capitalize on the meteoric rise in people taking pictures… There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones… [But] turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

The company claims its new “patent-pending proprietary technology” will let customers select pictures on their phones and transmit them to a bar-top workstation “for quick and hassle-free ordering within seconds.” Photos can of course be enhanced for contrast, red-eye correction, brightness, and added filters.

One thing we do agree with Polaroid on: “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices.” Here’s hoping the company — as well as others in the photofinishing industry — can start to change that.

More information is here.

Live video from WiFi-controlled toy car camera


Hey, now I can chase my cat from my recliner, and see ’im wherever he hides! The Scara Bee (named for scaring the cat?) lets you use your Smartphone’s orientation sensor to drive the car — and see where you/it are going through its onboard VGA camera that feeds back live video to the phone.

The control and video feed are over WiFi, ranging up to 99 feet. The $150 car from European wireless accessory manufacturer BeeWi “is a unique Wi-Fi controlled buggy a-la the “Mars Rover,” designed for indoor and outdoor use.” It measures 8 x 7.5 x 4.7 inches. The NiMH provides 20 minutes of run time.

Beware, kitties!