The home videocamera startup Dropcam is adding some of that famous Cupertino hardware DNA to its team, with the hire of Andy Hodge as its new VP for hardware and strategy.
Hodge was the head of iPod product development and core technologies for 10 years, having worked closely with Tony Fadell on the original iPod team. He left Apple in 2010.
For the past 18 months he led a secret technology research group at Microsoft that hasn’t released any products yet.
In fact, that was part of the appeal of Dropcam — building and shipping things quickly again — Hodge said in an interview today, noting that the original iPod team delivered the first product in five months.
Dropcam’s devices have surprising appeal, Hodge said. Originally, he wasn’t quite sure he and his family wanted an Internet-connected camera in their home. But now that he receives an alert on the one day a week that his 13-year-old son comes home early from school, he has begun to get the bigger picture — a camera that doesn’t just see things, but notices them.
“A lot of these ‘smart’ products today are just connected,” Hodge said. Dropcam is different, in part, because of the opportunity to incorporate machine vision and machine learning. “There’s a real opportunity not just to see your house but to notice something happened. You can take sensors and compute, and there’s a chance to make genuinely smart products.”
Hodge holds more than 50 patents, on things like media playback and customized gift cards, as well as some speculative stuff like heart rate monitors and integrating a portable electronic device with a bicycle.
He previously built boats and worked at IDEO after getting degrees from Purdue in engineering and University of Illinois in industrial design.