Astronaut Glove Creator Reaches Out to the Crowd on Latest Project

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Seeks Funding for His Newest Invention: a Solution to Shaky Home Videos

"I was frustrated with the poor quality of videos that I shot, so I decided to do something about it." --Peter Homer

Peter Homer is no stranger to crowdsourcing. In 2005 NASA announced a series of Centennial Challenges – open competitions that directly engaged the public in the process of advanced technology development by seeking novel ideas from outside of traditional government-funded sources. Two years later Homer became the first “citizen inventor” to win by creating a space suit glove that outperformed those currently flying aboard the International Space Station. He won the second Astronaut Glove Centennial Challenge in 2009, and is also aMultiple Winning Solver at InnoCentive.com, a web site dedicated to crowdsourcing innovation problems.

Now Homer is taking a cue from NASA and InnoCentive by turning to the crowd for help with his latest creation, a hand-held device for steadying lightweight video cameras to produce smoother, jitter-free videos. He is seeking backers to help commercialize his invention through the crowd funding web site Kickstarter.com.

According to the campaign's web page, Homer developed his camera stabilizer out of frustration with a common problem plaguing home movies made on iPhones and lightweight HD camcorders. “Because these cameras are so small, it's hard to hold them steady. My videos come out all shaky,” Homer explains. After looking at what was available and finding nothing that fit his needs, he set out to solve the problem of shaky videos with the same determination and creativity that produced a better space suit glove for NASA.

The result is Circle Thing, a camera stabilizer named for its unique ring-shaped counterweight which provides stabilizing inertia while enabling the device to be reconfigured for different shooting styles and effects. The design makes it easier to set up and use the device – the campaign page states that anyone can balance Circle Thing in just a few minutes.

Having perfected a camera stabilizer for his own use, Homer wants to manufacture the device for others. Funds raised through the Kickstarter campaign would go towards finalizing the design and tooling up for production. Crowd funding has become an attractive alternative for launching new products because startup expenses can be covered through product pre-sales. Up-front orders also validate the market's acceptance of a new product before committing it to mass production.

Kickstarter projects only receive funds if a predetermined amount is pledged before the campaign ends. Homer hopes to raise at least $45,000 by November 28 in order to proceed. If funding is successful, early adopters will receive their rewards in time for holiday gift giving, according to the project description.

The Circle Thing camera stabilizer will be produced as an independent project. Homer will continue to develop advanced space suit gloves and other suit components for NASA and commercial space flight companies through his company, Flagsuit LLC, which he founded after winning the first NASA challenge.

More information can be found at Kickstarter.com.

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Peter K. Homer

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