March 11, 2024

The Rabbit R1 Chronicles.

Chapter 7: When is a camera not really a camera?

My iPhone 15 Pro Max can do 48mp images and 4K/60fps video and do it nearly as good as professional photo and video equipment. That’s what it was designed for. Rabbit R1’s Eye is rated for 1090p/24fps video and 8mp photos. So why would a bleeding-edge, new-tech device be so far behind the spec curve? Simple: The main purpose of the camera is not to take photos or video. It’s an input device, just like the microphone. What does that mean? I’ve give two examples.

  • You point Rabbit’s Eye at a box and Rabbit tells you the dimensions.
  • You point Rabbit’s Eye at someone running past and Rabbit tells you how fast they’re moving.

Rabbit may not be able to do either of these things on launch, but they’re examples of using the Eye for data input and not just taking a keepsake picture or video. So generally speaking, the camera will be fine for posting to social media (which is probably what 90% of us do), but was not meant to compete with the cameras on your iPhone. And for the tasks exampled above the resolution and frame rate are completely up-to-spec. In one of his short vids using his Rabbit, founder Jesse Lyu points the Eye at a Nest thermostat he’s installing and asks Rabbit if he’s wired it correctly. It’s those kinds of things that AI is good at and the camera-as-input-device is needed for.

A huge factor going into the decision of which camera to include in Rabbit R1 had to be cost. According to HT Tech an iPhone 15 Pro Max costs about $560 to make. We don’t know how much the Rabbit R1 costs to make, but we do know that they used to best parts for the price and are still able to make a profit with a tiny price tag of $200. I sell my images and videos through microstock, so I depend on the quality of my iPhone 15 Pro Max. Even if I can take selfies and vlog with a $200 Rabbit, I already have another device in my pocket that’s built capturing images and video.

AI is quickly moving into image processing. And it’s entirely possible that photos taken with the R1 Eye could be manipulated by AI photo editing apps to look as good or better than those a high-end phone can take. Pro movie directors have found the iPhone video quality so good that they’ve shot entire movies with it. Maybe in the future we’ll see a feature film shot entirely on a Rabbit R1 and then gloriously processed by AI. But I’m not holding my breath.

Read the next chapter: Decorum in the age of AI.

Check out the Chronicles.

I have no affiliation with Rabbit Inc. I’m just an early adopter. If you want to support this journey into the Rabbit, buying me a coffee below helps keep the articles coming.

Why buy me a coffee? No third-party ads, no affiliate links, no tracking cookies. Just honest content. Thanks.


Previous post
Chapter 6: Privacy (and piracy) in the age of AI. There always will be bad actors out there. You know: those who illegally take the advantage of opportunities. And today’s online privacy cracks and
Next post
Chapter 8: Decorum in the age of AI. AI companies are training the technology to be human, but not necessarily humane. Let’s take for example a recent roast of Elon Musk by his own Grok
All content ©J. Kevin Wolfe