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Google's Dropcam wants to take its wireless cameras outdoors

Not many startups would consider being acquired by one of the world’s largest tech companies as getting “chopped off in the knees”, but that’s been the sentiment at Dropcam ever since its sale to Google for half a billion dollars last year. Or at least since its co-founder and technical lead, Greg Duffy, quit a few months ago to pursue other opportunities.

But his old venture hasn’t been left empty-handed. Inside one of the latest of the search giant’s patent filings to have entered the public domain are a slew of yet unimplemented designs drafted by Duffy and two former colleagues that go above and beyond its hallmark standing camera. The common theme is modularity.

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The tripod detailed above is one of the several housings that the patent envisions could be offered independently from the camera (that compact circle in the middle) as a more economic alternative to buying several pre-configured models each with its own recording unit. That has the potential to shave hundreds of dollars off the receipt for enthusiasts.

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Another big appeal is the fact that you wouldn’t need to reconfigure your Dropcam in any way to switch between the tripod and, say, the set-top arrangement for video calls disclosed in another part of the filing. There are also some more specialized housings towards the bottom of the document, in particular a recording collar described as a sort of GoPro for pets.

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It’s unclear whether the specific designs in the filing will ever see the light of the day, but there is no reason to believe Dropcam’s plans to expand the usefulness of its wireless camera beyond its current limited indoor uses won’t be pursued further under the new ownership. After all, the more applications there are for a product, the more people will be interested in buying it.

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