We’ve featured build-it-yourself cameras before, but those DIY products aren’t often suitable for children. One in particular was made entirely from 3D-printed parts, a DIY SLR for crafty adults that would be both fun and educational to make.
The Bigshot DIY digital camera kit was created with a similar goal in mind, only creator Shree Nayar came up with the idea specifically for children.
Nayar is a Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University in New York, and came up with the idea for the Bigshot camera all the way back in 2006. He dreamed of a DIY camera kit that taught children complex electronic concepts in an easy-to-understand, hands-on way.
“It’s about getting kids’ hands dirty,” Prof Nayar told the BBC. “In an age when software rules I want kids to know how to build hardware. We describe concepts that children would normally encounter at college, but try to make them accessible even to an 8 or 10-year-old.”
Here’s a short video intro:
Unlike other child-friendly cameras by toy manufacturers, the 3MP Bigshot is about learning and building in addition to taking and sharing photos. The camera must be assembled in the correct order for it to work, and while they build it, kids learn about image processing, electronics, display technology and more.
“Unlike a camera that you can snap together and you don’t have to worry about the parts inside, in this case each component that the kid is handling has to be safe and be something that reveals a concept,” explained Nayar in that same BBC interview. “I see it as an experience which includes learning-by-building, then using for photography and finally sharing your pictures with kids from other communities — it’s that entire experience.”
For now, the Bigshot is only shipping to North America, but the desire has always been to ship these worldwide and Nayar will continue to try and make that happen. If you want to learn more about the camera or (if you’re in North America) order one for an 8 to 108-year-old near your, check out the Bigshot website and be ready to drop $90 plus shipping costs.