Review: eyemodule digital camera for Handspring Visor
Mana Tominaga and David
MacCaslin, Special to the DCRP
Originally Posted: Saturday, December 2, 2000
Last Updated: Monday, December 4, 2000
For Handspring Visor handhelds
Supports Mac and Windows
of us carry around multiple electronic gadgets: MP3 player, phone,
pager, PDA, digital camera. Handspring's Visor PDA offers various
modules so you only need one main device, and plug in as you see
fit. At least that's the plan. But, the digital camera module is
available and reasonable. The eyemodule digital camera, designed
by Palo Alto-based IDEO Product Development Inc. allows you to take
snapshots on your Handspring handheld computer.
I first bought my Handspring and eyemodule, color screens weren't
an option on the Handspring.
I could capture in color, but had to upload to my computer to view
the images in color. I didn't have a good idea of how pictures would
turn out; it wasn't a true camera but more of a curiosity. Now there's
a new color Handspring called Handspring Prism, and I was curious
how the eyemodule worked with it.
you already have an eyemodule and want to try it on your new Prism:
First, install the update from the eyemodule
site. For the least cumbersome install, remove any existing
eyemodule software, reinstall it, and then install the update. Also,
make sure when you sync your PDA that the eyemodule unit is installed,
or it won't work.
you start shooting away, make sure you have more than 20% of battery
life left on the device to capture images. The eyemodule camera
fits in the module slot at the top of your Handspring. It adds maybe
15mm to the overall length of the Handspring, and it's about 2.8
ounces. The positioning of the camera allows you to hold the Handspring
in your palm, and point and shoot without holding anything up to
your eyes. And, because you get the entire size of your Handspring
screen as the preview and capture screen, the screen is larger than
most digital cameras.
can store more than 500 small black and white images, or more than
125 large black and white images, or more than 25 color images can
be stored on a Visor Deluxe. Once you upload, the images are JPEG
files. Your snapshots are automatically labeled with the date and
time, and you can zoom, annotate, and categorize them, and view
them in sequence as a slide show. And, you can zoom in on your saved
photos by tapping the magnifying glass icon or tapping on the screen.
can also beam the snapshots to other PalmOS users, but you have
to first beam the eyemodule software to your lucky recipient. Beaming
the software took about 10 seconds; it took about 35 seconds to
transfer a 320 x 240 color image from one Visor to another.
you can't use the eyemodule as a color video monitor per se, because
you have to save the photo first to even see it in color. This is
probably to save on battery power; viewing saved images in color
doesn't take up any more resources than any other operation.
this device ISN'T a replacement for a full-fledged camera. The lens
is fixed focus, optimized for subjects 18" and further so you're
limited to snapshots, really. The eyemodule takes snapshots, in
three resolution formats: 160 x 120 black and white, 320 x 240 black
and white, or 320 x 240 color. The vendor recommends that you shouldn't
enlarge your photos more than about 3" x 4"; I recommend
not enlarging at all if possible.
regardless of its limitations, it's a fun module. The eyemodule
is definitely worth the price for the quick snapshots you can shoot
on the go at a fraction of the size and weight of a normal digital
Here are some pictures we took with the eyemodule in both Visor
Prism and Deluxe.
Tominaga is Associate Products Editor of Web Techniques magazine.
She assigns product reviews and new product announcements. David
MacCaslin is Lab Technician for Web Techniques magazine, and is
responsible for testing Web related software and hardware.