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Josiah Ng, a Melbourne-based Malaysian track sprinter well-known within the track cycling community has recently launched a new project on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website. I had a chat with Josiah (3-time Olympian and Commonwealth 2010 Gold Medalist) to hear more about his project and to see if he’s hanging up his bike just yet.
[CyclingTips] Give us some background about your Kickstarter project
[Josiah Ng] My project is a dual video sports camera with WiFi capabilities for cyclists looking for a lightweight and streamlined camera to record their rides for safety purposes.
How did you come up with this concept?
In early March 2012 this year, I went on my usual Saturday morning rides down to Mornington Peninsula from St Kilda Beach. After our long ride, our group usually hangs out at Café Racer in St Kilda. My mate Andrew Ong and I started chatting about the incident where Shane Warne hit a cyclist and there wasn’t any camera footage to prove whose fault it was. We continued our chat about road rides in general and thought about how cool it would be if we could record training and road incidents using a lightweight camera, streamlined camera while riding. There are existing helmet / action cameras out there, but they’re all really bulky and record only frontal view. So we chatted about how awesome it would be if there were dual camera views to record front and rear simultaneously.
We took on the concept, started researching about the industry, and I sold my car to fund the project initially. We interviewed several industrial designers and choose a world-class industrial design agency, Outerspace Design. We started the whole process from concept development to our first semi functional prototype. Our alpha prototype was then constructed in July 2012.
How does it work?
Our prototype which weighed only 60 grams, mounts directly onto user’s helmet using the Velcro strap mounting system. With a click of the main power button, the camera automatically starts recording. User has the option of connecting to the smart phone via WiFi and Spectacam smart phone app to view live images on both cameras. Live-images can help the user adjust both cameras’ angle of view. Other possible options include a rear view only function to use this feature as an electronic “rear view mirror”. Camera settings can be customized via the Spectacam smart phone app.
Spectacam will be cyclists’ silent scarecrow and eyewitness. The aim is for cyclists to have front and rear-view footage of any accidents and incidents that happen on the road. This is especially important if assaulted or hit by a hit-and-run driver.
Tell us about Kickstarter and how you’re using the crowd-funding portal.
We launched Spectacam on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website to raise a minimum of USD$200,000 to help offset some of Spectacam’s development and tooling costs. I think it validates and helps a project gain traction, while giving everyday consumers an opportunity to be part of the some of the greatest innovations in the world.
For a minimum pledge of $199, Spectacam backers can expect to receive a Spectacam towards mid-2013. They will also have the unique opportunity to experience the amazing journey with our team though regular updates via photos, videos and social media.
Are you still training full-time as well as working on this project?
I’m very lucky to have my wife work on this project on a full-time basis. She quit her day job in digital advertising for this. I’m combining her digital / marketing skills with Andrew Ong’s financial expertise and a great product development team at Outerspace, together with a few partners like Exit Reality, Swoot Creative and Dugong Films.
So what’s a typical day like for you while working on this as well as training?
I wake up in the morning at 6.30am, have a full breakfast, check my e-mails and by 7.00am I’m out the door to my gym at Elite Sports Performance for an hour and a half. I get home by 9.30am, shower, and get back on my computer to work – if not Skype, make important calls or have team meetings. After lunch, I head out again for a track session till 4.30pm before returning to work till the late evening, some times as late as midnight. I usually end the day watching inspiring videos and reading entrepreneurial articles.
I still have my regular massage therapies and meetings with my sports psychologist. Occasionally, I attend startup events to network with the entrepreneurial community and hang out with people who have the same passion and drive that I do.
Any plans to hang up your bike just yet or are you still looking forward to competing?
Not yet. I’m still have a few more years at my prime physically. Sir Chris Hoy has been going strong in his thirties. I look to him as inspiration to keep my fire burning. I still have passion for the sport. I love training hard and love racing even more.
So what’s next for you in cycling?
I’m targeting Asian Championships 2013 and World Championships February 2013.
Josiah represents Malaysia at professional level in track cycling. His events are predominantly keirin, individual sprint and the team sprint. He was the first track cyclist to represent Malaysia at the Athens Olympics 2004 with the best Malaysian record to date, securing a position in the keirin final, earning him the Malaysian Sportsman of the Year 2004 award. As a nine-time UCI Track World Cup medalist, he has also won several Asian Games and Asian Championship medals.
It was an honor for Josiah to be invited by the Japan Keirin Association (JKA) for the Kokusai Keirin (Invitational Keirin) in 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 multiple-months stint for professional keirin racing. In 2010, Josiah won a gold medal in the keirin at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Josiah is a three-time Olympian – Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Apart from securing medals for Malaysia, Josiah has played an integral part in developing Malaysia’s high performance program, which is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. He was responsible for securing the services 3 out of 4 key coaching staff currently in charge of the world class cycling program.
Josiah also owns 5bling.com. He set out to design a glove that met the tough demands and technical elements of track cycling. As a result, more than half of the world’s top track cyclists started using his glove. They included World and/or Olympic Champions – Anna Meares, Kaarle, Shane Perkins, McCulloch, Teun Mulder, Mikael Bourgain, Simona Krupeckait?, and many more. Shortly after, he secured one of the industries leading specialty distributor, Euro Asia Imports to promote and distribute his gloves worldwide.