In mid July, the AXIOM Gamma team packed our bags and headed to the the European Commission headquarters in Brussels for the final review of our EU backed innovation development grant. We already had a technical review in spring this year in Vienna where we showed progress and developments, but this final review was different as everything had to be finished. As always in such projects, when the end gets near the stress levels and long days at the office increase drastically. In Brussels, we met up with each other (and also with our Apertus team members who live locally) the day before the review and occupied the breakfast area of our hotel to turn it into our final development lair. We still needed to organize all the bits and pieces that the consortium partners brought along and any additional items that had to be sourced locally and then coordinate our presentations for the next day. In the evening of the first day, we set out to the streets of Brussels to shoot some footage with the first preliminary AXIOM Gamma prototype, which would then be presented to the EU reviewers. (Sorry for not sharing this footage here but we want the first released footage to be of high cinematic quality - not just a quick tour through a city.)
Albert Gauthier, our most excellent project officer from the European Commission welcomed us to the Commission's headquarters after we'd undergone the by now, standard security checks at the building entrance. The reviewers assigned to our project arrived shortly afterwards. We then started our presentation; giving a demo of the camera operation, showing the video footage and finally taking a camera apart to show the internals. We then covered a few more topics related to dissemination, budget and further strategy.
The EU project funding carried us through to creating a fully functional AXIOM Gamma prototype camera. But to get our baby to market, there are still a few important changes in our production process to consider. Currently the electronics are of very high complexity and the production and assembly are rather expensive. We estimate that if we build one hundred AXIOM Gamma units based on the current design (this means a rather good volume discount already) the retail price would be in the range of €15,000. For building a smaller batch of just 10 cameras, the retail price would increase to over €30,000. So the next steps are technical and aesthetic improvements in all aspects, as well as cost reduction and optimizations. While many of the consortium members are willing to continue working on the project and contribute their time, future changes to the hardware and enclosure will still require a significant amount of development funds (eg. for having the PCBs for 5 camera prototypes produced in the project we paid around €50,000). So as the project currently stands, we are looking for investors who can help us carry the AXIOM Gamma further and to the market successfully.
The reviewers also noted that the success of the project in general highly depends on the adoption of the AXIOM Beta. Developer and early adopter kits of the Beta are already shipping in small quantities. We plan to scale up production to supply many more crowd funding backers and voucher holders around the end of the year. New developments such as different enclosures, new lens mounts, active lens communication, plugin modules and shields, internal recording, etc, are also on the AXIOM Beta roadmap, but right now our primary focus is on production and shipping of the developer kits.
With the end of the EU project, our university offices were handed back to the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. We already had several other offices (shared spaces) available - the assembly facility where we build AXIOM Beta hardware and several mini "offices" in the homes of our community members. Recently, a few people from the University AXIOM Team organized another office area in the 7th district of Vienna which now provides us with lots of additional space (we plan to shoot the next Team Talk video there). Below you can see some photos of the moving action - we're still in the process of setting everything up and making things comfortable.
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