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People Are Stoked For This Tiny Camera That Records Everything Your Kid Does

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 2, 2017 6:11PM

Slapping a camera onto your child to capture his or her actions sounds like the very definition of Orwellian helicopter parenting. But an in-the-works device designed to do just that is motivated by a different strain of contemporary anxiety: FOMO, taken to what seems like a bit of an extreme.

It's called Benjamin Button, and it's already attracting waves of popular interest even before it's launched. There's really no corollary to the David Fincher-directed aging-in-reverse drama from which the concept takes its name, other than it focuses on kids and it's small (you know, like a button). It's a small, GoPro-like camera that parents attach either to their kids or themselves. The Button then records the action so that you'll be able to catch and preserve any big, transformative childhood moments—like a first word, first step or a first successful bike ride. The added twist is a software that automatically self-selects the best material for the grown folks to review.

The company behind the cam has offices in Berlin, Bratislava and right here in Chicago, which is where they launched their thus-far wildly successful Kickstarter. With more than $42,000 pledged on a $25,000, and 30 days still remaining in the campaign, Benjamin Button seems well on its way to graduating from prototype to product—always a recording-worthy moment in a Kickstarter's life.

How does it work? The camera uses a host of technologies designed to make sure parents aren't flooded with hours upon hours of dull, throwaway video, including face, sound and activity recognition software. It also self-edits together montages of supposedly keeper material. And the gadget itself is designed to withstand the beating that anything strapped to a young child would undoubtedly take, with waterproofing and tough plastic casing. They put together an animated video that helpfully dumbs it down for techno-nimrods like us.

It all sound a bit much to this writer, but I'm also one of those rootless urban types with no children, so it's easy for me to cast quizzical side-eyes. And hearing the founders' genuinely heart-tugging origin story for Benjamin gives us second thoughts. Are we wrong? Is this something parents would gravitate to? Well, there's plenty of time to get in on one of those sweet early-bird pledges if so. That'll set you back $189.