Earlier this year, Victor Wembanmyama, the French basketball player that is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, posted a video on social media. Captioned, “My POV – How I see the basketball court,” there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the video.
It zooms in on Wembanyama’s 7-foot-2 frame as he holds a phone, recording himself as he dribbles, shoots, and throws your sense of proportion out the window, with spidery-long hands that palm a basketball as easily as most people can grab an apple. In short, he showcases some of the skills that makes him of one of the best prospects in years.
But over two million views on just Tik Tok later, it’s obvious that seeing things from an athlete’s perspective – especially one with that combination of size and skill – is something people are curious about.
The Ucam is a wearable camera “designed to non-intrusively integrate into spaces of art, sport, fashion, and culture, and is engineered to break the fourth wall of media” according to a MOORvision press release. The lightweight device (weighing in at 1.3 ounces) is composed of two parts that clasp seamlessly and innocuously onto any garment – the camera goes on the front, interlocking with a magnetic component under the wearer’s clothing.
Operated by a mobile app, Ucam allows you to capture, edit and upload videos, even sporting a live-stream feature that allows users to “connect with fans and followers in real-time…a first-of-its kind solution for hands-free recording.” Videos like Wembanyama’s would show a truly immersive point of view, not to mention allow athletes and performers to move freely without having to hold up a recording device in the process. Each Ucam also has a 90-minute battery life with a wide range of recording options for high-definition videos.
The idea for Ucam was actually born in 2016, when LeBron James succeeded in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title. In a pivotal moment in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, James successfully tracked down Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala with a chasedown block that erased a layup attempt in a tightly contested game. The moment has since been dubbed “The Block,” establishing it as part of sports lore forever.
Five years later, James’ signature play was a source of inspiration for Ali-Han Ibragimov, a Los Angeles-based film school student. “What an iconic moment,” thought Ibragimov as he watched the highlight. “I wonder what it felt like for LeBron…how could I have experienced being [James] at that moment? ”
Ibragimov immediately connected with Rashan Allen, a New York City native who had been living in Los Angeles working as a screenwriter. The two had met in film school and soon “bonded over their passion for storytelling, basketball and classic movies.” When Ibragimov reached out to Allen to describe his joy at watching James, their shared thought was, What if we could put a camera on a jersey?
The duo had begun working together on a full-length feature film. After its release, they turned their attention to their first tech project, a streaming service exclusively for indie filmmakers named “The DBO” (or Digital Box Office). But their energies have since been devoted to production of the Ucam, a product that aims “to change the way we experience and capture life’s most memorable moments,” according to MOORvision’s founders.
An initial round of pre-seed funding from such notable athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrities such as Metta World Peace, Imani McGee-Stafford and Greg Kristof was secured. Allen and Ibragimov also participated in PlayersTV’s Front Office, a Shark Tank-style series where up-and-coming businesses meet with former or current athletes as potential investors. In the case of MOORvision, the founding partners met with former NBA All-Star Deron Williams to pitch him on the future of Ucam.
Ultimately, Williams passed on the opportunity. While disappointed with the decision, MOORvision continued with their efforts and, after securing additional funding, the Ucam will be ready for a full-scale launch in April.
World Peace, one of Ucam’s investors, says about the product, ““What I love about Ucam is how easily you can embed the camera on a jersey, which allows for different and unique points of view, and also helps the wearer capture additional data to help improve their form and play.”
While the Ucam hold a certain appeal within the sports industry – in fact, early testing and marketing included working with AAU basketball teams – MOORvision’s founder see multiple uses for the device, including personal security. “Although the idea was born in sports, Ucam can take other areas of entertainment, education, safety, and more to the next level,” says Ibragimov.
“My mother would send me to the deli across the street all the time growing up to pick up dinner, and we didn’t live in the safest neighborhood, so it made us uneasy for me to step out most nights,” adds Allen. “But if my mother had a camera to give me that I can discreetly and seamlessly throw on my hoodie when I would leave, [one] that would allow her to be with me every step of the way just by live-streaming my point of view? I know that if nothing else, that’s the one thing I’m proud we will accomplish in underserved communities around the world with our Ucam technology.”
As content creators look for new and creative ways to provide visual insights into their respective crafts and with athletes expanding their social media platforms to continue building their brand, it’s that type of versatility that makes Ucam such a unique addition to the wearable camera marketplace. “Our goal is for our vision to help advance your vision,” says Ibragimov.