Geometrical was founded in 2012 by Rambod Radmard and his business partner, Laily Boutaleb. Even though at the time Rambod was working as an engineer for an aerospace company, he worked on developing the Pocket Tripod on his free time. Eventually he quit his day job in 2013 to focus solely on his startup. More members joined soon after who’ve been vital in building the company.
In 2014 Rambod was offered an engineering position at Apple. However, that would have required him to dissolve Geometrical, leaving his commitment to his backers incomplete, which made it a difficult decision. Rambod and his team have continued working on building a business around creating consumer products, starting with the Pocket Tripod. What started as a simple idea for mobile photography, has now become a startup with seven members. Even so, every step of the way has been a learning process, although very challenging at times, but overall very rewarding.
The inevitable, but not-so-scary counterfeits.
The design of the Pocket Tripod is so intricate, that almost every manufacturer told Geometrical that it cannot be done. But after searching long enough, they found the right manufacturer who took on the project. After months of prototyping and testing with various engineering plastics, they finally had a product that they could ship to the backers of their 2013 Kickstarter campaign.
Even though the production proved to be very challenging, the designer sees it as a blessing in disguise. Rambod says that immediately after they introduced the product on Kickstarter, he started seeing Chinese knockoffs on websites like Alibaba and eBay. He bought every one of them, so that he can take a closer look at his stolen design. But to his pleasant surprise, none of them actually worked.
“Even though these knockoffs had the general shape of the Pocket Tripod, they were missing some very important design features which the counterfeiters had no idea why they were there. Without these complex geometries, their copies just didn’t work, and I was very relieved when I found out.”
– Rambod Radmard, Geometrical’s Chief designer and CEO.
Even though the complex design of the Pocket Tripod had created a barrier to entry for counterfeiters, Geometrical didn’t leave anything to chance and made sure to get the invention patented in the US and other countries, including China. Although until now, they have not felt the need to enforce it.
Giving creatives the right equipment.
They say the best camera is the one that’s with you, the same is true when it comes to tripods.”
– Rambod Radmard, Geometrical’s Chief designer and CEO.
What’s the point of packing our cameras with amazing features like time-lapse and long exposure, if we aren’t able to use them 99% of the time? Most of us don’t walk around with a tripod in our pockets. Cases with kickstands are great for watching videos, but their limited viewing angles makes them unusable for capturing film and videos.
Geometrical’s Pocket Tripod® was designed to provide the same functionality as a photography tripod, with the added benefit of fitting in a wallet. That means next time you want to capture a time-lapse while you’re taking a break on your hike, you don’t need to perform a balancing act using rocks and water bottles. Being able to hold your phone steady for a long period of time, hands free, unlocks some very interesting creative features. It allows you to create long-exposure images, like light paintings. Or even take clear images in pitch-black darkness. The company has made video tutorials on creating light paintings and night photography.
Of course more basic features are also enhanced, such as making hands-free video calls, or taking a picture of yourself and friends without an awkward selfie-stick.
How to reinvent the ‘tripod’.
As the name implies, a tri-pod is something that has three legs. But the Pocket Tripod’s designer didn’t let definitions limit his creativity. Instead, he shifted his focus on the functionalities that we expect from photography tripods, and he let the form of his design be dictated by those features. The result is a curious-looking card, that transforms into a structure that’s capable of holding a phone at any angle. It does this by holding the phone within parts called “adapters”, which connect to the rest of the tripod through circular rails. As a result, the angle adjustment feels similar to that of adjusting the angle of a laptop’s screen. The same smooth and precise motion that a camera experiences on a full-sized photography tripod.
But due to its novel design which barely lifts the phone off of the ground, Pocket Tripod users are able to set their cameras at very low angles as well. Something that was previously not possible with standard tripods.
To make it universal, Geometrical stopped making the opening of the Pocket Tripod’s adapters match the profile of any specific phone. Instead, they designed a universal opening shape, and replicated the design in a range of incremental sizes. The smallest opening size is 5.5 mm to accommodate future slim devices, and even some current ones like the iPod touch. The largest opening size is 12.5 mm to be able to hold phones with thick protective cases.
Designing a future-proof product.
We’ve become accustomed to expecting a new and improved iPhone every year around September. In fact, fans are already upset about rumors of the iPhone 7 being similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 6s.
This goes to show that for many, upgrading to a new phone at least once a year has become more than just a trend, it’s the norm. This has been made even easier with services like Apple’s “iPhone Upgrade Program”.
Swapping between the huge selection of cases is even more frequent among smartphone users. So naturally, nobody wants to be stuck with an accessory that won’t work with their next phone or case. That’s why Geometrical has designed the Pocket Tripod to be future-proof, unlike many other phone accessories which become obsolete the moment that you upgrade your phone. The Pocket Tripod’s connection to your phone, called the “Adapters”, are interchangeable. So if you upgrade to a phone that’s a millimeter thinner than your last one, you don’t have to worry about it wiggling around in your Pocket Tripod. You can simply swap to a pair of adapters that are also a millimeter tighter. That means that instead of having to buy a whole new Pocket Tripod each time, you can simply buy the very affordable adapters instead.