Eye-Fi Explore

All about the Eye-Fi Explore digital camera memory card

The Eye-Fi Explore is the top of the current line of digital camera accessories from Eye-Fi that I stumbled across while shopping on the Apple Store Web site. It's a 2GB SD flash card that also has an embedded microprocessor that looks for pictures being stored on it, then uploads those images according to the profiles you store during the configuration process. With three versions, you can purchase only the capabilities that you really need.


Ranging from $79.99 to $129.99, each card utilizes Wi-Fi upload to a computer or to an Internet service.

So let's say that this is a SUPER cool product and that I picked up an Explore and have been happily uploading to Picasa Web all day now. The only small hassle I've found so far is that I have to know the Wi-Fi network information beforehand, or I have to fire up my machine (Mac or PC) to add the Wi-Fi profile to the card.

Here's the highlights that really caught my eye (so to speak):

  • SMS/e-mail/Twitter notifications when uploads are done (one, all, or any combination)
  • One-year Wayport hotspot subscription included on the Explore
  • Home/Share/Explore all support both Mac and PC direct transfer (I'm using iPhoto on my Mac)
  • On the Nikon D60 (and up?), you can tweak the power profile to keep the Eye-Fi running, but still conserve batteries
  • The Eye-Fi manager on the Mac actually supports the new application firewall on Leopard
  • Wi-Fi security: Static WEP 40/104/128, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK

My two big wishes for this product are:

  • A write-protect tab so that I can boot it up directly into CHDK and do motion detect and/or interval shooting and still use Eye-Fi for uploads on my Canon PowerShot
  • A config item so that once photos are successfully uploaded, the system can be configured to delete the pictures off the card.

I'm utilizing a TDK-Lambda Point of Load (POL) DC to DC converter (CC10-1203SF-E) trimmed down from 3.3 volts DC to 3.15 volts DC connected to a six-pack of 6-volt alkaline lantern batteries (or a car battery) so that I can power my Canon PowerShot A570IS through the entire Interop show. I want to have it take a shot every half hour or so and upload to Picasa for me. At the end of the show, I take all the JPEGs and combine them into a time-lapse video. The goal is to go from bare floor to bare floor (setup to teardown). No fuss, no muss. The only hassle is that during the exhibit hours, the Wi-Fi soup from all the exhibitors is going to prevent the camera from uploading, but I'm fairly confident that once the show floor closes for the day (and the Wi-Fi soup thins out), it will be able to jump onto the Wi-Fi network and upload. The reason why I've gone through all the effort to find the POL DC-DC converter is that it has a rather wide input range allowing me to use photovoltaics or batteries. With the wide input range (9 to 18 volts), it can compensate for the voltage changes as the batteries slowly drain.

If I can ever find enough time, I'm pretty sure I can combine both the Intervelometry (time lapse) and the motion-detect scripts. Throw in the automatic upload and you have something VERY special.

/brian chee