OK, TUAW readers. It's time to once again prove that Kickstarter works to get some really cool projects off the ground. In this case, it's an accessory lens setup for mobile devices. Yeah, we've seen them before -- but they're usually set up with some sort of case that only works with one kind of device. You buy one for an iPhone 4S, for example, and when Apple comes out with a new iPhone, suddenly the case doesn't fit anymore. The Mobi-Lens is designed to let you buy one kit and use it on any number of generations of electronic devices with cameras.
The Mobi-Lens project accomplishes this with a deceptively simple design. It's a clip-on lens that reminds me of an old-fashioned clothespin, except one that's been updated in bright colored plastic and given a lens implant. More correctly, multiple lens implants -- inventors Aris and Evette Allahverdian are proposing a 2-in-1 wide-angle / macro lens as well as a fisheye lens version. What's awesome about this is that you can use the Mobi-Lens with just about any existing or future device with a camera.
Want to use it on your iPad? Clip it on. Use it with your iPhone 4S? Clip it on. That sorry brother-in-law of yours who has an Android phone? Yeah, he can borrow the Mobi-Lens from you, but I'd keep an eye on him because you'll probably never get it back. Want a wide-angle view from the camera on your MacBook Air? Yeah, you can do that too.
At this point, however, the Mobi-Lens might just be an über-compatible mobile phone photographer's dream, because the project is woefully underfunded at this point. With about 35 days to go, the project is at only about $2,900 of the $34,000 needed to start production. You can back the project and get one of the clip-on lenses for as little as $30, although higher support levels open up exclusive colors and the fisheye clip-on.
My wish is that Aris and Evette get more than their minimum funding amount and look into a telephoto lens version as well. There are a lot of ways to get wide-angle and macro lenses (see the Phocus as an example), but nobody seems to be looking at the telephoto or zoom end of the business -- which is why I still use a "real camera" for a lot of photography. Give me the option of a telephoto that I can clip onto my 18-megapixel iPhone 6 and I may seriously consider using it as my sole camera.
Interested? Here's the video pitch from Aris and Evette: