I was contacted this morning (23 Feb. 2009) by what looks to be a legitimate customer who is looking for EE help. I am not able to do the job, and all of my usual contacts are busy as well, so I am throwing it into SED to see if anyone is interested.
I have created a temporary email address for this purpose: [ temp73658432 [at] guymacon.com ]. It will remain valid until the spammers find it. If you wish, you may call me at the phone number on my website, but I prefer email.
I will send contact info and a .PDF with their specs to anyone who is interested, but here is a quick overview: They are developing a helmet camera for use in extreme/action sports. They need help with mechanical and electrical engineering for the first phase and with PC software engineering for a later phase which I can not talk about without an NDA.
They are fine with working after hours/weekends to accommodate an engineer who has a day job and wants to moonlight. The fellow I talked to seem pretty sharp, but non-technical, and the business plan appears to have reasonable potential.
The rough electrical design specs (subject, of course, to the EE being able to meet the same needs with a different spec) involve interfacing a 5 mega-pixel image sensor (they have identified a few potential sources, some of which appear to have anti-shake already designed in) and a mono microphone to an embedded system that will record to a 16GB SD card (they are suggesting Quicktime/ MPEG-4/H.264 format at 1080p) and drive a USB port. They are hoping for 60fps but will accept 30fps. They want to get six hours out of a rechargeable battery (two hours recording and 4 hours standby) and to have a one button on/off user interface with everything else (exposure, etc.) done automatically. Fixed focus (1 meter to infinity desired) is OK and there is no need for zoom. And, of course, it has to be rugged enough for use in extreme sports. Quantity will be in the hundreds.
The mechanical design (which may be done by a different engineer) will involve mounting a lens (they have identified a few potential sources), adding a polarizing filter, making it rugged and water/ /dust/snow resistant, with straps/mounts designed so that it can attach to a helmet, limb, torso, handlebar, and possibly a suction cup or rope. They have done some prelim design on the mounts -- I don't know how much is already done or what quality it is.
I am *not* vouching for this customer; they seem legit to me but it is up to you to evaluate them. I will be telling them the same thing about you ("I haven't worked with this engineer, but his website/newsgroup posts show that he knows his stuff. It is up to you to evaluate him.")