Looking like an oversized Bluetooth headset, the Looxcie is a wearable camera, similar to the Contour models, but less rugged and more slimline and discrete. Weighing in at just 22g and sized at 84mm in length, the Looxcie sits in the ear just the same as a Bluetooth set. Because it’s a little heavier than the standard headset, it has an ear loop that both keeps the Looxcie in place as well as being used to adjust the angle of the camera. It’s also worth noting that the Looxcie works as an actual Bluetooth set as well.
The Looxcie can be used in a number of different ways. First and foremost it can be a standalone video recording device, capturing 480p footage at 30fps. In this mode, you can capture one hour of footage with around two hours of battery life.
However, most of the more interesting functions of the Looxcie are accessible when you pair the device with a phone and use some of the companion apps (available across Android and iOS). With the LooxcieMoments app, the device will continually record for as long as the battery allows, looping and recording over old footage when it fills the memory. By opening the app, you can use the phone as a viewfinder as well as adjust lighting setting and checking battery levels. Once the device is paired, you can then use the dedicated “clip” button on the Looxcie – pressing this will automatically make a video clip from the previous 30 seconds of footage (at either 480p or 320p depending on your settings), which you can then view via the app. By setting up your social networking settings on the Looxcie Moments app, you can – theoretically – arrange for any clip to be instantly uploaded to Twitter, Facebook or emailed to a specified email address. You can also create a longer clip from the App by using the built in video editor should you desire.
In practice, however, using LooxcieMoments proved tricky at times – the clip editing software is a little less than intuitive and we often found ourselves creating clips of longer length than we wanted or of sections of video that weren’t the ones we were looking for. When working with the instant clip function, we had several goes attempting to upload a clip to Twitter. We initially ascribed the issues to us entering our Twitvid log in details incorrectly. However, even after we corrected the log in, we were still unable to make the share function work. After four or five attempts, with the video failing to appear either on Twitter or our Twitvid account, we finally got an email from Twitvid informing us that it was discontinuing its “ability to submit a video via email”. We’re unsure what the work around would be and at the time of writing Looxcie spokespeople hadn’t responded. Sharing directly to an email address also failed to work, with the video never appearing in the target email address and no failure notifications being delivered.
Luckily, Looxcie’s broadcast functionality – with the LooxcieLive – was excellent. LooxcieLive allows you to stream video directly to another user’s phone (or multiple users’) along with sound. The viewer can also use a text chat function to communicate back to the broadcaster. There was some lag time between the broadcast being sent and received, but not by much, and only noticeable when the broadcaster was close enough to be physically viewed. Video quality was fine, as was the sound – although because of the positioning of the Looxcie it’s the broadcaster’s voice that you’ll hear, not the ambient sounds. Considering that the LooxcieLive app is technically still in beta, we were extremely pleased with how it worked and cannot wait to see what the final version will be like.
In all, the Looxcie is a fascinating device, but with limited use for the average indvidual. Using it around the Labs and PC&TA office generated an immense amount of interest, but while video bloggers and dedicated autobigraphical archivists might find it handy, we feel much of its use will be for security services and the like, rather than the home user. (We imagine that the automatic clipping would be something perfect for the Police, for example.) That said, the Looxcie feels like a device slightly ahead of its time and we eagerly await the next iterations.
UPDATE. We received the following comment from Looxcie:
“With Twitvid’s decision to discontinue the capability of submitting video via email, our Twitvid sharing feature will no longer work using the method we use today. Our product management team has been alerted to this issue, and we are investigating the development of other methods to re-enable this feature. Unfortunately, due to Twitvid’s decision, Twitvid sharing will no longer be a supported feature until we complete our investigation and implement an alternative interface with Twitvid.”