AWS News Blog

VholdR – Wearable Camcorder and Community Site

Vholdr_cameraYesterday afternoon I left the confines of the Amazon headquarters building and paid a visit to the Seattle-area offices of Twenty20 Cameras in order to learn more about their new VholdR product.

I learned that they’ve got a really cool piece of hardware which is tightly coupled to an Amazon-powered online service and I can’t wait to become a user. This is the kind of thing that I could lend (emphasized for their benefit) to my teenagers so that I could get a first-hand view of their snowboarding antics from a safe distance while I stay as far away from Alpental as possible (I’d rather melt than freeze).

The hardware component is a small and rugged video camera suitable for use in extreme conditions — ski slopes, competitive cycling, and so forth. The camera can record 2 full hours of video on an embedded MicroSD card. Once mounted, leveled (using a pair of lasers, no less) and aimed, a single, glove-friendly switch controls the recording process. There’s also a microphone built-in.

Once the recording is complete, it can be uploaded to the VholdR site, tagged, labeled, and then shared.

The site itself uses several Amazon Web Services behind the scenes. All of the videos are stored in Amazon S3, and the entire EC2-powered uploading, transcoding, and post-processing system is driven by data stored in a couple of Amazon SQS instances. The developers noted that they made use of David Kavanagh’s “lifeguard” automated server pool management as described in this Developer Connection article. Scaling should be painless for them — as more videos are uploaded, the lifeguard will automatically add enough additional EC2 instances to ensure that they are processed in a reasonable amount of time.

Finally, they mentioned that they are hiring like crazy and asked me to note that they have a whole bunch of open positions in the Seattle area for development, user experience, sales, and marketing people.

— Jeff;