An FPV Insider interview with Michael Sabielny, MD of The Missing Gear and developer of the Nerdcam3D FPV racing camera…
FPV: Hi Michael,
So who are The Missing Gear?
“The Missing Gear” is driven by TMG – Ingenieurbüro Unternehmergesellschaft, a German small-business company, which focuses on the development, manufacturing and marketing of electro-optical devices for FPV. The company was founded in April 2014 as the result of a preceding individual part-time development of a stereoscopic FPV flight camera – now community-wide known as the NerdCam3D Mk.1. The name of the company reflects the surprising unavailability of such 3D-FPV flight cameras at that time, which are compatible with state-of-the-art 3D video gear like all Cinemizer© goggles made by Zeiss and the new DominatorHD goggles created by Fatshark.
FPV: How did you get into the industry?
The founding of The Missing Gear was neither the result of a long-term plan with lots of research for new products nor a crowd-funded project, instead it is simply the result of a personal leisure-time activity. Over the course of the development of the NerdCam3D we have got so much support, feedback and encouragement by the FPV community that in a certain moment the industrialization and commercialization of the product became a realistic option.
FPV: Excellent. So you have a great communication with the FPV community, how do you use that?
We decided to established an international network of highly motivated FPV pilots, who support us with field-testing and product feedback before market launch.
FPV: What is your favorite thing about working in the industry?
It’s basically the experience of being part of the full lifecycle of a product for end-users. While a first proof-of-concept demonstrator of a new idea is often quickly designed and assembled, the following industrialization is typically a longer bumpy road. If you drive a small company you have the chance to participate in every business area, which is related to the product: design and development, quality control, regulatory compliance, sourcing, marketing, export control, bookkeeping, etc. This is a thrilling and educative experience.
FPV: What do you think are the positive applications of drones and FPV gear in the marketplace?
We are convinced that the dominating applications of FPV in general and 3D-FPV in particular on the short term are all kinds of recreational activities, from individual flying alone or in a group of peers up to professional FPV-racing events, where stereoscopic vision may be a disruptive innovation. While FPV is mostly attributed to (flying) drones in general, also ground and maritime use cases can be envisioned and have been realized already.
FPV: How does your company envision the future use of the technology?
With the advent of the first (but still expensive) digital video transmission gear for FPV higher resolutions than the present analog Standard Definition video may be possible. This would allow for other, more professional applications like drones for inspections or radio-controlled ground-based vehicles, which operate in areas under adverse conditions, where a direct human presence is not possible.
FPV: What do you think about the International Drone Day, have you heard of it?
We became aware of this event via our UK reseller FirstPersonView.co.uk. We are now a key sponsor for the FPV racing event.
FPV: Yes, thanks for donating a couple of your cameras for the race prizes! What’s next on the agenda for you and The Missing Gear?
After the launch of the NerdCam3D Mk.1 the next milestone is the introduction of the NerdSense Mk.1 – the first dedicated extension product for the present 3D-camera and possible successors. The NerdSense is a small sensing device for capturing voltage and current consumption of the RC-vehicle as well as preprocessing RSSI information, if available. The NerdCam3D processes this data and enriches it with a mAh charge counter. This processed data is then embedded in real-time into the stereoscopic camera video stream. When using the NerdCam3D there is no need for an extra OSD device as it is usually the case with standard FPV setups, because the OSD is directly included into the camera firmware. This new sensor will be available very soon at all places where the camera is sold.
FPV: That sounds really cool, we will have to test them out! We will post up some pictures and videos of the FPV racing event from March 14th so you can see the winners of the cameras for yourself. I am sure they will go to well deserving winners!