Looky Loo and Kabuto Focus are two new crowdfunding campaigns that aim to make your life easier

by Felix Esser

posted Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 9:25 AM EDT

With the introduction of the crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, the financial realization of new product ideas has been as easy as never before -- provided the project gets enough backers to reach its financing goal. In the past couple of years, we've seen a lot of great inventions that might never have become reality. Often, these inventions were made by users unhappy with the solutions available on the market, and in many cases they found enough prospective customers to be realized.

The greatest part about these crowdfunded products, however, is that in many cases they will fit an empty niche and prove useful for a number of people beyond their inventor. As we reckon will be the case with these two new campaigns, which are being funded via Kickstarter and IndieGoGo respectively. The first is called Looky Loo, and it's a camera accessory that promises to attract the looks of small children -- ideal for the baby and toddler photographer. The second one is called the Kabuto Focus Lever, and it is aimed to be an affordable yet powerful follow focus solution for the DSLR and mirrorless videographer.

The Looky Loo was invented by baby photographer Allison Carenza, who was looking for an easy solution to get the attention of her photographic subjects. Unable to find something viable on the market, Allison came up with the idea for the Looky Loo, which is essentially a set of colorful, blinking LED lights that attaches around your lens. By lighting up in different colors and patterns, the Looky Loo attracts the attention of toddlers and gets them to look directly into the photographer's lens.

The Looky Loo has a crowdfunding goal of US$50,000, $1,900 of which have be pledged for so far. The campaign will be running for almost another month, so there is still time to support it if you think the Looky Loo is the right accessory to make your life easier. And that need not necessarily only be baby photographers -- we reckon it might work just as well with cats, for example.

Next up is the Kabuto Focus Lever, which is being crowdfunded over at Kickstarter's main competitor, IndieGoGo. The Kabuto Focus Lever aims to be an easy-to-use, affordable follow focus system that does away with the bulk that other follow focus systems come with. The Kabuto consists of only a couple small parts which, according to the project description, attach to almost any lens -- even to small C-mount lenses, which will be useful for Micro Four Thirds videographers or those working with the new Digital Bolex D16.

The Kabuto Focus Lever is made from very light acrylic, so that it doesn't add much extra weight to your rig. Thanks to its unique design, which was inspired by the Kabuto beetle's strange-looking head, it can be operated with one finger only. The Kabuto Focus looks for €3,000 (~US$4,058) in funding for a first batch of items, though of course the long-term goal is to produce many more. The campaign is running for another 44 days, so there's still enough time to help it reach its goal. Currently, €311 have been pledged for the Kabuto Focus Lever.

(Kabuto via ISO1200)