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This Guy Made a Polaroid Camera That 'Prints' GIFs

Not very practical, but extremely cool.

by Leif Johnson
Aug 30 2017, 7:42pm

What if GIFs had been around in the golden days of the Polaroid? The homemade "Instagif NextStep" camera from tinkerer Abhishek Singh gives us an idea.

Singh's creation handles more or less like a 1977 OneStep Polaroid, only instead of a sheet of instant positive film, you get a digital cartridge that shows a looped GIF of the moment you captured ad infinitum (or, at least until you take a new photo with the camera).

Seems like a lot of work, especially considering you can do essentially the same thing with a smartphone and then immediately share it with your friends. So why did he do it?

"I just wanted to build something physical and the idea of holding a moving image just popped in my head," Singh told me in an email.

Singh also said you can share your GIFs by hooking up your PC or laptop to the camera, although he's thinking about adding an in-camera sharing tool in the future.

"The battery on the cartridge lasts for around 20 minutes when it is outside the camera," Singh said. "I had to keep the battery small to keep the overall cartridge size small. However, you can just pop it back into the camera to charge it back up. The entire camera can work on a single charge for around seven hours."

Singh used a ProJet 7000 SCA 3D printer to make the camera at LaGuardia Studio in New York City. There's a Raspberry Pi processor in both the camera and the cartridge. Sigh detailed the process of making the Instagif in a detailed Imgur post, and he uploaded the necessary code to GitHub.

This isn't Singh's first charmingly oddball creation. We've previously written about his augmented reality recreation of Super Mario Bros. in New York's Central Park.