If Doctor Octopus were to design a DIY flash accessory, it might look a little something like this. German microbiologist Marcell Nikolausz has been experimenting with using fiber optics to split a single flash unit’s light into multiple light sources. Optical fibers are threaded through Gorillapod-style Loc-Line channels, allowing flexible and stable positioning of the light sources. Each individual light source can be controlled using various modifiers (e.g. diffusers, gels, etc..), changing their quality and intensity.
For some sample photographs taken with this contraption, check out this set of photos. You can also learn more about Nikolausz’s experimentation on his blog.
Shooting photos or video remotely may get a whole lot easier if a startup company named Satarii is able to raise enough funding ($20K) for their idea — a camera base called the Satarii Star that automatically keeps the lens pointed at a remote sensor. We could waste our breath explaining how it works and all the different applications it could be useful for, but the video above does quite a good job.
So far they’ve built a functional prototype that they showed off at CES, and raised about half their target funding. If you’d like to jump in on the project, visit their IndieGoGo page here.
The “Flutter in Pinhole” is a beautiful concept camera that combines a cardboard pinhole camera with instant film to make sharing memories a breeze, and could be the high-tech postcard of the future. Read more…
The folks over at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have created a camera modeled after a fly’s eye that provides a 360° view of the world. Packed with the 100 small cameras, what the camera captures is combined on a computer to provide a single 3D view of the world. Read more…
How do you take a picture of something above the surface of the water and below at the same time? Well if you had the “underabove” camera, it would be a snap. The concept design features two lenses; one on the top half filled with air and one on the bottom half filled with water. It sports a flash and even a “time wheel” so you can take an underwater self portrait. The camera then stitches the images together and displays them on the LCD screen.
The design won a Red Dot Design Concept 2010 award.
If you’re a digital photography buff, here’s some required trivia knowledge: what you see above is a photograph of the first digital camera ever built. It was created in December 1975 by an engineer at Eastman Kodak named Steve Sasson, now regarded as the inventor of the digital camera. In a Kodak blog post written in 2007, Sasson explains how it was constructed:
It had a lens that we took from a used parts bin from the Super 8 movie camera production line downstairs from our little lab on the second floor in Bldg 4. On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder. Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on approximately half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like.
Getting a tripod head level can be a hassle, as Dr. Carl Koch found out on a cold night in Switzerland when photographing a Christmas display. He then spent four years inventing the Acadalus CPS-H1, an advanced self-leveling camera head that automatically levels a camera with the touch of a button. Killing hassles comes at a steep price — the Acadalus costs $5,000 for the studio kit, and an extra half-grand or so if you need the battery pack and charger for outdoor shooting.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself wiping off the LCD on my DSLR or point-and-shoot with my clothes. The unseemly but common practice of wiping gadgets with clothes is exactly what FIFT, a husband and wife design team in Japan, had in mind when they designed the ‘Wipe Shirt’.
This practical (but probably unfashionable) button down shirt has microfiber built into either the cuff or the shirttail, and allows you to clean your gadgets (and glasses) as you naturally would:
While cleaning your LCD screen might be perfect for this unique shirt, you probably wouldn’t want to touch anything more sensitive (i.e. your lens) with this, despite it being microfiber.
The Paparazzi Bots are a series of robots invented by Ken Rinaldo, a faculty member in the Department of Art at Ohio State University. Each bot is autonomous, and moves about on a wheeled platform, using infrared sensors to move towards humans. It’s goal is to take single photographs of people, and it makes decisions on whether or not to capture the photograph based on facial expressions of the subject. If you happen to be smiling, the bot is more likely to photograph you.
Here’s a short video demonstration of the bot in action:
Rinaldo was invited to deploy three of these bots at the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and two of the bots were also used at an art and digital culture festival in Berlin.