Spend much time in a Costco parking lot and you’re likely see some close encounters of the vehicular kind. But the near miss that Aaron Moseson witnessed was more disturbing than most.
The former Red Deer resident was at a Costco store in Calgary when he spotted a vehicle backing toward an inattentive mother and her young children. He managed to alert the driver and avert disaster, but the near-miss left him shaken — and pondering preventive measures.
A tech enthusiast, who was in the news a few years ago when he designed a comprehensive fitness app, Moseson works for the Calgary-based venture creation firm Business Instincts Group. One of its projects is an autonomous flying drone with a camera that can lock onto objects, such as a skateboarder, and stream video to a smartphone.
“I kind of thought, ‘Boy, it wouldn’t be that difficult for us to take some of that technology and kind of repurpose part of it and develop a backup camera.”
Moseson pitched the idea to one of Business Instincts partners, and was assigned help in developing a prototype.
“We have some significant resources here to really get things built.”
That prototype, which doubles as a licence plate holder, uses a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology to wirelessly link camera to smartphone. It also has a proximity sensor that activates the camera if another object comes within about a metre.
Moseson explained that this feature could create a video record of something like a hit-and-run incident in a parking lot.
It’s proven to be of greater interest to many people than the backup camera, which is already commonplace on vehicles, he said.
A priority during the development process has been producing a product that can operate without frequent charging.
This has been accomplished with a system that has low power requirements, tiny solar panels and a kinetic power generator.
“We’re trying to see if we can get maybe 30 days of use in between (charges),” said Moseson.
The focus now is determining if there is a market for the product, which has been named the Hindsight Smartplate. Business Instincts is promoting it on an online crowdfunding show called The Next Big Thing, and if viewers like the idea and are prepared to back it with their own money, the firm will move toward commercialization.
Moseson would retain an equity interest in the product.
The 37-year-old works as director of video with Business Instincts, and has been overseeing production of The Next Big Thing. He thinks the Hindsight Smartplate illustrates how innovation can take root anywhere.
“Electronics are relatively inexpensive, information is accessible and you don’t have to be in California to be able to develop and create cool things. You can do it anywhere.”
The products flowing out of Red Deer College’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing proves this, he added.
Moseson, who attended Poplar Ridge, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa Of Avila and Camille J. Lerouge schools, as well as Red Deer College, still has strong ties to Central Alberta. His parents live at Poplar Ridge and his in-laws in Red Deer, and he also has other relatives and friends here.
Additional information about the Hindsight Smartplate can be found online at www.thenextbigthing.tv/hindsight-smartplate.