Total Overwatch Productions, a love story…
So there I was, 2016 and getting out of the Army after 8+ years as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician. Headed to college on the GI bill, I found myself with a lot more free time. Since 2012, I had been diving into drones & 3D printing, so pursuing an engineering degree was more of an excuse to enhance my hobbies than anything else.
As I sat in my home office, I had an idea to do something better than what was currently out there. The NVG Recording Adapter was born after about 45 test prints as I chased dimensions to align a custom lens & optimally place a GoPro in the tight space between the operator’s face, their NVG, and their helmet. One has to balance those spatial constraints against the captured image quality. Every single commercial attempt at an NVG recorder before and after my design has failed to optimize for the captured image quality. When exploring this trade space, I thought “what is the point of putting this thing on your NVG if it isn’t to capture a quality image???”. Button cams & smaller prisms or beam splitters fail in that metric. The NVGRA is the only NVG recording adapter out there that will capture the entirety of your NVG image. It does so while maintaining a clear site picture, with the sacrifice of jamming a little bit more device between the operator and their NVG.
So it was 2016 going on 2017 and 3D printed products did not seem to be as concrete of a sell for consumers at that time. I pursued a prototyping company to do small batch production of a cast mold from my original design. I sold the NVGRA on a few market places to include Amazon. I pursued an export classification, only to receive the dreaded “ITAR”, nuts! Eventually, it was time for me to reinvest in a new mold, my manufacturer doubled their price, and I decided to not reinvest those sunk costs. That, and engineering school was ramping up. I had so much homework and began to regret taking time out of my day to do assembly & order fullfillment. So we went out of stock and let it die, having mostly broken even.
The Intermediary Years
I had some great internships, graduated, and worked a few jobs. I brought my product development experience to industry and in return, industry gave me its product development experience. In the background, SLA printing matured. In 2022 I was printing some models and was significantly impressed by their quality. Simultaneously, my buddy Danny finally broke his original NVGRA and requested a new body. After refusing a few times, I decided to print it and was amazed at how the world had changed, not overnight but gradually, silently in the background…
Back in Business
I knew it was time. I now could iterate on all the feedback I ever received and not be locked into a mold design that would cost $$$ to alter. I could remove uneccessary features, reinforce weakpoints, and focus on providing the item people needed based on how they actually used it. It just so happened that GoPros had also gotten better over the years, providing live streaming via their app, while also stopping the madness of changing their camera lens profile with each new release. The case for a NVG GoPro adater was stronger than ever.
- Create when you are inspired
- Interact on your terms
- Plan to Iterate