Eye-Fi: Solving the digital photography pain

So, if you're like Chris Pirillo you have a large plazma screen in your family room. An Xbox 360 sits next to it. A Media Center is off in the office somewhere else in the house.

OK, we're not all like Chris (I don't have a large screen yet cause I can't afford it, but I'm saving up — the money I save every month on coffee alone that I'm not drinking will probably cover payments on one) but Yuval Koren, CEO of Eye-Fi showed me something that could make my life better.

What's the pain?

Digital cameras. I bought my wife a Nikon S1. It takes an SD memory card. But her computer doesn't have an SD slot. So now anytime she wants to see her pictures she's gotta hook up an SD card contraption that hooks into one of her USB ports. That's OK. But her computer is slow, is upstairs.

We want to look at photos downstairs on our TV (especially once we get that big screen we're saving up for).

Now, if you're a geek (or have one in the house) this is just a minor anoyance. But you have to have a Media Center PC. Hook the SD card reader up to that. Copy all the photos into its Photos folder. And then use the Xbox 360 downstairs to display those photos using the Media Center extender capabilities.

Whew, that's a mouthful. Now, try telling a non-technical person how to do that. "Forget it" will be the answer.

Eye-Fi, WiFi on an SD card

In fact, in my discussions with Doug Rowan (former CEO of Corbis) he tells me that there are many people who never even hook up their digital camera to a computer. Both Doug and Yuval tell me the fastest growing part of the photo business is those "photo printing kiosks" that you see at Costco, Kinkos, or other stores.

Yuval has a better idea. Why not put a little WiFi radio into the SD card and have it automatically send your photos?

What a scenario!

Imagine if I just could turn on my wife's Nikon and have the photos displayed via my Xbox 360 on my new big screen after I get it?

My 360 has WiFi — I bought the WiFi kit that got it on my 802.11 a/b/g network. Most of the time it's just sitting there doing nothing, but with Eye-Fi it could do a lot more.

Yuval Koren, CEO of Eye-Fi

Yuval demonstrated exactly that for me today. He has built a WiFi radio on a chip (it is also a memory card, the one he showed me had 256MB of RAM, but he said Eye-Fi will build a variety of sizes up to 1GB to start). Cost? Pretty affordable. Around $100. Availability? Hopefully this year, he says (it's in alpha testing right now). Funded? Via Angel Funding, looking for more funding as Eye-Fi moves to production.

Seeing this is just inspiring.

56 thoughts on “Eye-Fi: Solving the digital photography pain

  1. Curious on the UI for this technology?
    If the camera is not a wireless camera, how does one set up the wireless for the card?

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