The Claw 2.1

My colleague Angus Fraser recently gave The Claw a good workout on some mobile site testing in Brisbane. The screenshot below shows the output of the two webcams side-by-side, viewed in a neat piece of software called AMCap. The two AMCap windows, and the audio from one of the webcams, was recorded and broadcast to observers using GotoMeeting.

Dual webcams shown in AMCap

There’s nothing like some real world feedback to improve a product, and Angus was most helpful in this regard. Besides the introduction of AMCap, Angus pointed out that the webcam mounting solution wasn’t the best. The original screws from the webcam base were too short to make it all the way through the perspex and securely hold the webcam, even with the countersinking. So I’ve enhanced the design by using meatier screws (wood screws actually) that are longer than the original and with wider thread to really bite into the plastic of the webcam. Note this is a destructive enhancement, the new screws will wreck the hole for the original screws and you’ll no longer be able to attach the webcam’s circular desk stand.

The new screws also have bigger heads that a normal screwdriver will drive (not requiring a jeweller’s screwdriver like the original screws). So not only are the webcams held nice and securely, but it’s easier to undo and move them.

The other enhancement Angus suggested was to use ‘velcro’ on the handset, so it can be taken off the Claw for setup changes, but then securely re-attached. The ‘velcro’ strips are Command Picture Hanging Strips (annoyingly, they don’t refer to them as ‘velcro’).

I also tied the two USB cables for the webcams together with cable ties, making them less messy when using the Claw.

The Claw is evolving!

(Originally posted to the USiT blog, reproduced here with some minor alterations)