A group of UF freshmen will start raising money next month for their invention, which protects camera lenses.
The three UF students and one University of South Florida student created the water-resistant elastic-band camera-lens protector, called band.it, after Sarasota photojournalist Thomas Bender approached them about making a product to protect his lenses.
The four launched their own engineering company, Research Development Manufacturing, in 2015.
The lens protector also acts as an extra grip for photographers, said Domenic Aluise, a 19-year-old UF electrical engineering freshman and the CEO of RDM.
The group will start a campaign on Kickstarter on Nov. 1 to raise $10,000 to make 200 bands, said Jessica Hornyak, RDM’s marketing strategist. The company will have 30 days to raise the funds.
Bender was among the first to test out the product, although more than 100 other photographers have tried it since, Aluise said.
“It’s a great product, and I use it every day,” Bender said.
Since coming to college, the three UF students started making the protectors in their shared room in Hume Hall. Aluise said it hasn’t hurt their business or ideas. In the past, the group has made prosthetics.
“I have a passion for nearly any problem there is,” Aluise said. “Right now, at this time, I am ready to solve these problems of photography.”