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A camera that snaps a GIF and ejects a cartridge that displays it (imgur.com)
1480 points by wyldfire on Aug 30, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 296 comments

Hah, not exactly what most people think when you use the word 'print' but then again ...

People have asked what is the impact of 'free' CPUs. Something Dave Rosenthal realized way back in the 90's was that the electronics for driving a display could be printed on the margins of the display and eliminate the need for a separate controller board. Having watched the evolution of displays and seeing Mary Lou Jepsen's work on the PixelQi and other screens it became fairly clear that it still made sense to use silicon for the controller and glass for the elements, but once you get to OLED technology (no backlight) and printing on plastic substrates then you reach the point where you can imagine something like this project but the size, weight, and thickness of a Polaroid picture rather something the size of a cigarette box.

At its simplest, imagine an OLED display driven by reading out an EPROM printed on the borders. Your camera encodes the image in the EPROM and then whenever you apply power to the "picture' it shows the one image.

Certainly something there to explore, a number of engineering challenges between there and a product though.

Definitely agree with you.. this was just a concept for me that I was able to build with off the shelf parts but this is exactly the type of discussion I was hoping to get going..

I have a feeling that personal displays (as with cellphones now) will continue to exist until man stops existing. I imagine the opposite trend will occur, where each person owns fewer and fewer display devices. I can't imagine a justification now, or in the future, for buying some single use display. Once we get to a nice head mounted AR system, it would be very silly to have anything more.

People like having something special and permanent. All those pictures on your general-purpose computing device? They're gone as soon as you lose the device, get ransomware, and/or temporarily run out of money to renew the cloud storage subscription.

A polaroid picture that starts playing as soon as you attach it to a suitable power source (please make it something standard like an AA battery or USB cable), on the other hand, is something you can keep in a box in the attic for your grandchildren to find after you're gone. It's not just a display, it's a read-only snapshot and air-gapped backup of a moment of your life.

>A polaroid picture that starts playing as soon as you attach it to a suitable power source (please make it something standard like an AA battery or USB cable), on the other hand, is something you can keep in a box in the attic for your grandchildren to find after you're gone.

Unlikely, unless it's very carefully engineered. For example, the flash life of most microcontrollers is measured in decades.

What about not using a micro at all? Just an EPROM (burned by the camera) and a circuit to pass the image to the screen, using a clock signal to switch between images. The images would be encoded not in a regular format but essentially as a sequence of direct screen signals.

I don't think EPROM necessarily has a much longer lifetime, but I'm not sure.

Power from transparent photovoltaics printed on the same sheet. And include some kind of graphene battery inside the sheet so it can also light at night.

This is a very cool project, but if your grandchildren find some photos in the attic that they can still enjoy those are likely to be old fashioned prints.

There are many enemies of electronics: water, bumps, component failures, etc. that make long term non-specialized storage likely to fail

> All those pictures on your general-purpose computing device?

The trend is, and I believe will continue to be, not using your own memory for long term storage. It's a nearly impossible task. If you're storing anything important on a single device, be it a single use display, or a cellphone, or a memory card/disk, you will lose that data, 100% guaranteed.

We're already moving towards transparent backup of all user data. This trend will continue, because people will become more and more aware that they can't save their own data.

Your grandchildren are unlikely to be using AA batteries or USB cables.

As for AA batteries, they have been around since 1907 (though the size was not formally standardized until after WWII).

I wouldn't be surprised if they were still around in a few decades' time - there's simply too much cheap consumer electronics out there relying on AA for it to make sense to introduce a new standard. (Energy density is likely to keep increasing - but as for the form factor itself, I suspect it will outlive me.)

But both are trivial to create adapters for as long as you have a suitable source of electricity.

Unless everything (finally) goes wireless.

Even then there will need to be receivers that tap the wireless power source. To make that hard to regulate to a suitable current is exceedingly unlikely. Unless the device is extremely sensitive, if you can get any kind of electromagnetic power, converting it to electricity at a reasonable voltage might not necessarily be quick and easy if no current tech is available, but it's the kind of thing you can achieve from near first principles in the garage with some basic tools and a spool of copper wire.

But that's only necessary if you can't get hold of a source of electricity (such as a wireless receiver) and a voltage regulator of some sort (likely to exist as part of said wireless receivers).

In the past we've had problems recovering data from magnetic disks and the like, but powering ancient devices with simple power input requirements have not generally been very hard, and it's not likely to become so anytime soon unless not just every computer but every lightbulb, kettle, electrical oven and every other little appliance suddenly start receiving energy in a fundamentally different way.

how about a solar panel on the back (or a transparant one on the front). How about heat activated. How about activated by radiation in the air (microwaves).


I've long imagined something like that: a card-sized (including thickness) full-color display devoted to displaying, say, an entire movie. Given ultra-thin displays like OLED, dirt cheap storage, and "free" dedicated processing, you could hand out videos like sales brochures or cheap paperbacks.

Amazing how technology has advanced.

Tangential, but at some point of the last 15 years I thought the music industry might move to distributing what amounts to dedicated MP3 players/USB sticks. The simplest ones would be squares with album covers (shrunk like CD covers have shrunk from vinyl), but artists could get 3D creative. You could wear your music in necklaces or in your belt. People would flock to these things as conspicuous consumption (as they already do with tshirts, pin-buttons, etc) which would offset piracy.

All of this is viable and cheaper than ever, but the culture has moved on.

This once existed as "Playbutton" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwoTlgyUYlE

edit: actually from the video description these are still released with new content in Japan

The cheapish mp3 players of that era had barely enough power to drive a pair of in-ear earphones. If you ised a pair of over-ear ones, you would get hardly any base at all.

I kind of hoped there could be a Miles Davis one shaped like a 3D head blowing a trumpet, for example.

Or that Weird Al would release ones shaped like (a cartoonish version of) himself with the headphone plug located between his butt cheeks.

"Tangential, but at some point of the last 15 years I thought the music industry might move to distributing what amounts to dedicated MP3 players/USB sticks"

There's something along those lines - MQS SD:


I can't even find a picture of one they were such a failure, but there was a time that what you're describing existed for AudioBooks.

For a ridiculous markup (I think they were like $80+) you could buy an iPod sized device that held a single audiobook. They were gimmicked up to look like a tiny plastic hardcover with basic nav buttons on the side.

Fun, albeit sad fact: In Norway, 99% (quite literally, not exaggerating) of bookstores are owned by the various publishing houses.

They've pushed an eBook standard where you buy a dedicated reader, then buy proprietary memory cards in sleeves much like the ones used for compact cassettes - the idea being that people want something tangible, even when buying eBooks. (The cynical among us assume they just invented that tangible bit to have people still come to tangible bookstores, but that is another story)

It has not turned out to be a massive success. Cough.

Now to a tangent on a tangent.

The advantages of the Scandinavian social-welfare systems are well-known. What are some (unrelated to the problem of funding welfare) economic problems faced by Norway? You just cited an interesting one.

I remember a story about milk import restrictions, but I could be very mistaken. But anyway, between the effects of oil exports on exchange rates (alternatively, the problems of exchange rate controls), the relatively small domestic market, the limits on land occupation further North, etc. -- the economy of Norway must be fascinating.

(Keep in mind while reading this that I am bordering on the libertarian - it may shine through here and there.)

Norwegian farming (including dairy/milk products) is tightly regulated and subsidized, basically a necessity if one is to farm here at all - after all, (slight exaggeration) mountains everywhere and winter half the year does not lend itself well to farming.

Result being that most all vegetables, meats and dairy products are purchased from farmers by cooperatives; the prices are set by the authorities as part of negotiations with the farmers' association annually. These cooperatives then sell the produce on to retailers and industry, ensuring a steady income to farmers.

This model wouldn't work if the same products could be freely imported from countries more suited (less mountains, less winter!) to farming - so we impose heavy tariffs on most products from abroad - with exemptions for produce from some of the least developed countries.

For instance, lamb is taxed at 429% on the goods value to make import prices comparable to the cost of producing it in Norway. Same goes for a number of dairy products - we have import quotas on, say, cheese - and if imports are too large in a given year, heavy tariffs are imposed to limit it.

The upside to this policy is that it is possible to make a living from farming even in the subarctic regions; it can be argued (IMHO, rightly so, even if it clashes with my libertarian credentials!) that farming is beneficial to local communities - unless the pastures are tended to, the part of the country which is not barren mountain would be covered in shrubs in no time at all.

The downside, obviously, being that food is much more expensive than it needs be; this issue is countered to a large extent by our petroleum-boosted economy, ensuring that even at the artificially inflated prices, food is comparatively cheap in Norway. Also, as the tariffs are not imposed only on basic foodstuffs, it ensures that specialities which already fetch a premium in global markets - think pata negra etc. - are outrageously expensive here.

In broader terms, one of our major challenges in the decades to come is that we've tended to solve - nah, make that postpone - any problem by throwing petrodollars at it; as oil production decreases, we've got some pretty tough choices ahead as income slows while expenses skyrocket.

For instance, we've relied on a pay-as-you-go pensions system; as people tend to live longer (and we've, to an extent (exaggeration again) kept unemployment numbers artificially low by providing disability benefits to the long-term unemployed), this is not sustainable (same situation as in a number of developed countries).

Now, pensions is to an extent cushioned by our close-to-a-trillion USD petroleum fund, but then there's all sorts of other obligations - say, tax-funded healthcare, (very) generous sick leave terms &c.

So - we'll need to axe our expenses, but in our very consensus-driven political system, no politician would dare step forward and actually DO something - after all, that would see his or hers chances of reelection plummet. You don't win elections by promising people that they will get less paid in retirement or when ill.

Oops. I just noticed that you said 'unrelated to the problem of funding welfare.' My bad.

A number of sectors face issues similar to that of the publishing industry - it is a small market, and with Norwegian hardly being a world language (All told, some 5 million native speakers), anything involving the Norwegian language sooner or later becomes an effort to prop it up - so publishing is not seen just as publishing; it is an effort to keep Norwegian alive and well. This has led to legislation which - believe it or not - makes it illegal to sell newly published books at a discount; this is to ensure that publishers get a decent return on translating and publishing books in Norwegian, but leads to such absurd situations like me wishing to buy the latest Jo Nesbo thriller as an eBook would cost me more than buying it on dead trees (as a 25% sales tax is imposed on eBooks, while paper books are exempt), but buying the same book on my Kindle or on paper via Amazon, translated into English, can be done at (typically) less than 20% of the over-the-counter Norwegian price.

Again, I can see where the advocates of such policies are coming from, but it does mean that we have a number of sectors of our economy which needs to be protected from the world at large through quotas and taxes. Now, obviously, everyone thinks their own sector is special and needs this kind of protection, whereas all others are just freeloading whiners who make everything more expensive than it needs to be for the rest of us.

Rant over. (I'll try to compose something a bit more articulate if some of the above piqued your interest. :)

Thanks for the rant!

Norway is usually held up as the singular exception of the Resources Curse of oil because of its long-term commitment to a Sovereign Fund. Interesting to see that this is true, but kind of exists within the boundaries of the welfare-state-in-an-aging-society system.

I guess (mind, guess) is that the reason we did prove somewhat of an exception is that we had established an efficient (as such things go...) state in which the electorate trusted PRIOR to hitting the hydrocarbon jackpot.

Also, it probably helped that we were a society with (relatively speaking) small differences and no real tradition for a pronounced upper class.

This, however, is just unfounded musings on my behalf.

Had similar thought ... could be niche thing for stocking stuffers and museum store nicknacks

Yeah except that would create massive amounts of electronics litter..

You can already buy single use phone chargers at convenience stores which, while ecologically horrifying, also speaks to how the economics of mass manufacturing work.

Then again, are single use phone chargers any more ecologically horrifying than non-rechargeable AA batteries or have they simply been around for much longer and have become mundane.

I recently saw those, I was shocked by both the price and the fact they were single use, surely a charging port and the extra circuitry would barely touch the BoM?

I've got a battery bank integrated into my wallet anyway, so I won't be caught out.

Actually, I took apart a similar device, a single-use e-cigarette battery, and it turns out to be identical to the rechargeable version, except on the tiny PCB inside the chip for handling the charging from USB was absent. The battery was the same Li-ion rechargeable, supplied charged up for ~1 days usage. The economics of these cheap electronics are insane...

And a new recycling waste stream.

Fair enough, as long as that would actually happen. I live in the downtown of a major city and on a weekend morning the amount of flyer/advertising garbage that is strewn across the sidewalks and streets as a result of the previous night's flyering is always depressing.

Even now with that all being paper, I'm sure most of it goes to the trash and not to recycling because of how ripped up and soiled it gets.

And Bitcoin doesn't?

Who said anything about Bitcoin?

"Massive amounts of electronic litter" and "amazing how technology has advanced" into a mad rush to waste resources and energy reminded me of this fire, and all the obsolete PC's and GPU's and ASIC's and coal power plants littering the landscape due to Bitcoin mining:



Bitcoin mining consumes enormous amounts of electricity, which is why miners seek out locations that offer cheap energy. The Ordos mine was set up in 2014, making it China’s oldest large-scale bitcoin mining facility. Bitmain acquired it in 2015. It’s powered by electricity mostly from coal-fired power plants. Its daily electricity bill amounts to $39,000. Bitmain also operates other mines in China’s remote areas, like the mountainous Yunnan province in the south and the autonomous region of Xinjiang in the west.


Coal is a killer in China. Coal burning and the secondary effects of sulfate and nitrate contribute to almost half of the dangerous air pollutants in China's polluted cities, compared to 20% from car emissions.

That (i) is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand and (ii) a completely fallacious argument, since Bitcoin mining amounts to less than 0.01% of the world's energy consumption, providing a useful service in return (compare with gold mining, which is actual mindless busywork and consumes way more energy than Bitcoin does.

> less than 0.01% of the world's energy consumption

Actually, it's 0.08% and rising. The energy for 1 transaction could power almost 6 U.S. homes for a full day.


#Bitcoin enables Chinese entrepreneurs to export coal by burning it and using the energy to mine.

— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) July 20, 2015


Gold mining doesn't provide a useful service in return, huh? As will_brown pointed out, Bitcoin isn't a necessary ingredient in smartphones, electronics, jewelry, medicine, dentistry, aerospace, glassmaking, like gold is.


Forget about US homes: How many homes in underdeveloped countries could one Bitcoin transaction power?

Only about 5% of gold is used in industry. The rest is stored as bullion or used in jewellery.

You sound very confident with using strong words like "absolutely irrelevant" and "completely fallacious" and "actual mindless busywork" and definitive quantities like "less than 0.01%", when it turns out that your numbers are off by almost an order of magnitude base 10 or three orders of magnitude base 2. So they're only burning eight times more coal than you claim (and rising).

You're saying that because worldwide production of gold is so small and insignificant and practically useless compared to Bitcoin, and since only 5% is used for anything but bullion or jewelry, it doesn't matter and it's absolutely irrelevant to the discussion at hand that the smartphone and computer that you're using contains and depends on gold?

If not for gold, then how would you be communicating your strong confident words and impressive sounding but inaccurate numbers with us? Do you use bitcoin in your smartphone instead of gold?

Where did you get your "less than 0.01%" number and your gold-free smartphone? Is it made of clay?

I could do without the smug lecture, guy. Anyway:

From https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

>16.26 TWh/yr

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption

>109613 TWh/yr

Which yields 0.0148%. So you're right, not less than 0.01%, less than 0.015% instead. Still a far cry from 0.08$.


I would really like to know when have I said my smartphone was gold-free, how that is in any way relevant to the discussion anyway and not a completely inane pseudo-gotcha, I would like to know why you keep linking bitcoin mining to coal (another completely transparent appeal to emotion), I would like to know when have I said worldwide production of gold is insignificant... I would like to know all those things but from the tone of your confident lecture responding to points I didn't even make I conclude you're not really into discussing this. Intellectual dishonesty is more your thing, I presume.


And my point is that gold (of which, again, 95% is "useless" in the sense of not being destined to any practical application) costs on the order of ~1MWh per ounce to mine. At a yearly production of ~3000 metric tons that comes to 109TWh, almost an order of magnitude more than bitcoin.

As an aside: is there a list of the energy consumption of common Internet activity anywhere?

How much is used by a single DuckDuckGo / Bing / Google search? Or Reddit post? Or email?

I'll use that much energy by performing a google search for the answer, and then offset my carbon footprint by performing some extremely accurate mathematical calculations using ancient Babylonian clay tablets, instead of depending on gold:


According to a 2009 post by Google: Together with other work performed before your search even starts (such as building the search index) this amounts to 0.0003 kWh of energy per search, or 1 kJ.

How much energy is required for one Google search? - Quora


Compared to:


How much electricity does an American home use? In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month. Oct 18, 2016

How much electricity does an American home use? - FAQ - U.S. ... - EIA


So if "Electricity consumed per [Bitcoin] transaction (KWh)" is 173.00 kwh, and one Google search consumes 0.0003 kwh, then you can perform 173.00 / 0.0003 = 576,666.67 google searches (over half a million) per Bitcoin transaction.

If a house used 10812 / 365 = 29.62 kwh per day, then you can perform 29.62 / 0.0003 = 98,733.33 Google searches with the energy it takes to power a house for a day, or power the house for (24 * 60 * 60) / ((10812.0 / 365) / 0.0003) = 0.875 seconds with one Google search, if these gold-free clay tablets are as accurate as news reports say they are.

Oh and I sent with a 3c txn fee!

As you type away your response on a smartphone or computer that contains gold (and other mined precious metals).

The gold used in industry amounts to only 5% of gold mined. The vast majority of gold is not mined for "practical" use.

You are missing the one reason this won't happen anytime soon. Battery tech.

Lithium-air battery would work. Additionally, you can use a sunlight-readable reflective display, which in principle only needs as much energy as an LCD, which is negligible.

...or imagine a display that includes a photovoltaic panel taking up most of the area of each pixel to power the device using ambient light, with a tiny electronically steerable LED that points in the direction of whoever is watching (and if multiple people are watching, just switch rapidly between them). The display would appear very bright but use so little energy that it could be powered by ambient light. In principle.

I imagine that we will eventually reach this point:


Fun to imagine that the Harry Potter Universe is really just a bunch of people that have inherited super advanced nano technology from some alien race that long ago arrived as refugees escaping some galactic war that devastated their planet.

After millennia they've lost touch with their history and only their access to their old technology remains. Technology that can only be accessed via a DNA marker.

This type of technology is able to bend space and time, hence the ability to jump through space.

We will also be able to print solar photovoltaics on it, so it can be self powered.

Incredible possibilities

PixelQi! Are they finally going to put out a product anytime soon, do you know?

Their low-power daylight-friendly monitors are only available on eBay as far as I've found.

> "PixelQi! Are they finally going to put out a product anytime soon, do you know?"

You can buy a few devices with Pixel Qi screens, but the R&D certainly seems to have gone through a few slow years. I hope they can bounce back, their screen tech had some clear strengths (low power, readable in sunlight, and with a faster refresh rate than e-Ink displays).

EDIT: Looks like Pixel Qi is no more, but a company called Tripuso acquired the rights to manufacture the displays that Pixel Qi developed:


Does anyone know if there any other initiatives beside PixelQi and e-ink displays for producing (modern) displays that can be used with passive light?

It would be fantastic to be able to bring my laptop into the sunlight for work. And with the expectation of greatly improved battery life.

Edit: Ooh, I found Liquavista: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tzaIgZKs0

Edit2: And Electrowetting as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf1GjCaYzYg

Hmm, why isn't this in use.

There is demand for it. There are lots of people trying to buy them, find them, and even make them DIY style, so why no one is making them is a mystery. Could there possibly be reverse pressure because of the market for other screens?

Reliability, generally. Consistency, afterward. Cost, third.

OLED was hung up for years because the blue pixels had 1/100 to 1/10 the lifetime of the red and green one.

In addition, you would be stunned at just how good our visual system is at picking out imperfections. Anything less than perfect (especially involving green) will produce complaints.

After both of those, you can talk about cost and efficiency.

That's informative, thanks.

And I think you're point is on point: people would buy these and not be happy with them, because they want a real monitor. There's also a group of people who want them just to be able to ready articles and write articles (and code, etc) outside, and without charging a battery as often, and would be happy with lo-fi graphics.

They died, and their guts got bought by another display company, http://tripuso.com/

At least the screens are still being made.

Try to buy from them. 1 month+ response times!

I think that unlikely. Mary Lou has moved on to other things, see (https://www.maryloujepsen.com/)

How about including fusible links and resistor ladders into the OLED so you essentially "burn" the picture into the display?

Depending on the resolution... and people would find anything less than 300ppi grainy at this point... there's not much room around each sub-pixel. A pitch of 60-80um is typical and there's not room to do anything like a resistor ladder or fuse with TFT transistors (3um min gate length) in that area.

The cost&size of flash and a TCON to play back a moving image is pretty damn low in 55nm from SMIC though. Less than a buck certainly. OLED and battery will be your dominant costs.

even currently the LCD and the battery were the most expensive components inside the cartridge

a sheet for a polaroid costs maybe $2 now, some of them even include a chemical battery to power the camera. it seems very plausible to me that a printed display/controller could hit parity with that.

Not $2, but less than I expected it would be: https://m.aliexpress.com/s/item/32824239190.html?spm=a2g0n.s...

Replace that cigarette box by a smartphone, and the implementation would already be simpler AND slimmer. Possibly also cheaper.

But that's not as fun to design and build.

For some people here, yes. For others, this would be like reinventing the wheel for the Nth time. But everybody is free to do what they like, of course, no question there!

I was expecting some thin e-ink-paper (Kindle like).

E-ink supports colors and videos nowadays. (unfortunately the ebook readers still use the older monochrome e-ink generation. e.g. Amazon has little initiative as the went with LCD Kindle Fire for video and colors)

I used to use make Apple ][ screen snapshots with glow in the dark silly putty, but they only lasted a minute or so. But while it lasted, you could perform all kinds of cool distortion effects, kind of like Kai Power Goo.

also I agree I use the word print loosely but I guess after seeing all those print functions in programming languages, I thought there was no better way to put it

This is one of those projects that at first, is easy to dismiss as "silly" or "useless". On the surface, sure. But looking at the imgur album and reading the comments (and I would imagine going to the website, etc - which I haven't done), it becomes clear (and the author even says so on the album) that this project ultimately served a larger purpose:

From start to finish, this project has helped the person develop a complete (or nearly so) set of manufacturing skills. An idea was taken from concept, on through a multitude of other steps (design, prototyping, software development, hardware development, etc), to producing a final working "product".

Now - it seems from the comments in the album that this isn't the authors first go at such a project, but it may have been one of the most complex or largest they have done. Regardless of that, it has helped them to hone and develop a complete set of skills very few people have.

Heck - I would encourage the author to try turning this project, or something similar, into a MOOC in some manner; I don't know if this is possible, or if it has been done before, but I bet there's a growing audience of people who'd love an all-in-one course to study to gain such skills. Part of the problem of implementing such a thing as a MOOC is whether a person has access to the needed tools and equipment; maybe that could be part of any pre-req's? Or, maybe people would pay for such a course, and parts or tools could be provided (kinda like those "boxed recipe meals" you can get)?

Ultimately, I liked seeing this project; even though to me it seemed "frivolous", it really is a physical form of "random play coding exercises" software engineers do from time to time, in order to learn a new language or framework, or just to try out ideas or whatnot. Such a project thus becomes a education and learning opportunity of a very intense sort.

If this individual hasn't gotten any job offers or such, I would seriously question "why not?" - they have shown a level of competence and follow through rarely seen in a single individual, and they should be considered a valuable asset to a company (that, or this person needs to create a startup or something).

Hey you got it absolutely right.. i do these project for fun, as learning experiences, as self challenges and to keep the creative juices flowing.. it's how I enjoy spending my time and money haha

I love the work you did! There was some rambling about the RPi setup process - I fully agree that it can be time-consuming.

A good way to make that better is building one's own OS image. Once you get the scripts running (which is fairly easy), you can customize them to your liking, preinstall your software and config, etc. There's a lot of opportunities to save power and make the bootup quicker if you look through the scripts.


You analysis is on point. The comments on Reddit in particular were so far off base. On one hand you had people raving about how this needed to be patented and produced for sale - those people are (perhaps optimistically) out of touch with reality. On the other hand were people laughing in his face for how ridiculous this was to produce as a project, because it's obviously not marketable ("I am so smart").

It goes to show how the average person thinks - everything has to be about the ability to make money, right? Why should anybody do ANYTHING if it's not aimed at directly producing income? So few people remotely understood that this has NOTHING to do with the final product and its (non-)place in the world. This is about learning a lot about every step, from concept and design to an extremely complex production process, of a single interesting idea. No, it's not about patenting. No, it's not about mass-producing in China to get-rich-quick. No, it's not about showing off "an amazing 23rd century Apple product", which it is clearly not.

Reading deep into the comments about his resulting product made me even more cynical about the average population. People just don't get it. The overall assumption is he's trying to invent the latest thing to sell people. The only reason to do anything in life must be backed by capitalist ambition! It is an idea, brought to fruition by one man's amazing ability to dedicate himself to learning - and performing - the entire process. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR OWN SKEWED INTERPRETATION OF HIS SUPPOSED INTENTIONS.

tldr; People's obsession with capitalism seeps into everything they come across. You can't share the result of your labour without people only being able to see the possibilities from a capitalist point of view. Everything is viewed from a capitalist (if not, then political) standpoint; anything else is apparently unfathomable.

tldr #2; I am envious of this product's creator. I wish I had even 5% of the creator's vision, ingenuity, ambition, or skill - let alone all four of those attributes.

That's a problem you sometimes see here too, on the various "Show HN"s. There's always some comments along the lines of "nice, but how will you monetize this". Seeing this is a website geared towards startup culture it's something to be expected, to a certain degree. But it makes you wander about the shifting meaning of the word "hacker".

You sound pretty ("I am so smart") and condescending. Must be pretty hard living life as a poor lonely tortured genius.

I would pay money for said course. I'm trying to piece together my own homegrown manufacturing curriculum through a combination of books, googling, diy projects, and YouTube. I don't expect to create world class engineering marvels on my own, but to be able to develop such a polished finished product as OP would be incredible. Any tips on where to start as far as 3D modeling and enclosure design goes?

OpenSCAD! http://www.openscad.org/documentation.html

It might not be where you end, but it's a great place to start. (fwiw, I do all my 3D design with OpenSCAD. Been using it since 2011.)

Very cool! Thank you! How do you find it helpful to think in terms of code that generates a design vs. jumping right into the visual aspect of a design (I'm assuming the latter is how a typical 3D design program works)? In other words, why do you prefer this to other more traditional 3D design programs?

The parts in my designs are fairly simple and mathematical (rectangles with holes like Lego Technic), which makes them good candidates for OpenSCAD. My product designs, though, are first made by hand in a playing-with-Lego-like way (3D printing parts made in OpenSCAD as needed). Beyond that, I like having the precision of source code for my designs. Like source code, I can easily check them into source control and track changes over time.

sounds like an interesting idea but as pointed out above, with these kinds of projects, equipment access is the main hurdle.. I use Autodesk Fusion 360 for the modeling. I really like it though to be honest it's the only 3d program I ever tried and I just picked it up recently

Thumbs up for Fusion 360 - for a fully fledged production ready CAD/CAM package you can't beat the price, and it's easy to get starting.

Hi guys, I am the creator of this camera! happy to answer any questions.. didn't know it was doing so well here on HN :)

Will you develop a noir cartridge for making beautiful black and white error diffusion dithered animated gifs?



could easily be programmed in. I was already thinking of experimenting with filters.. printing a black case to go with it shouldnt be a problem

The print could have buttons to trigger different filters.

yes I was thinking of experimenting with filters. I decided not to add more buttons since it is a touchscreen and it made more sense to program in an interface when needed rather than set it in stone through hardware

How much time did it take you to make this from start to finish?

The breadth of skills needed to do this all yourself is quite impressive!

thanks! it took me about 4 weeks once I started building.. many nights prior to that just lying in bed planning and visualizing

Cool project! The part that I was fascinated by was not the electronics but the physical design and manufacture. It is very impressive! Would love it if you go into details .. what 3D printer, post-processing, software tools used, etc.

Hey I've detailed all the steps in the album. Used a projet 7000 3D printer, post processing involves UV curing and removing the support(this was handled by the print company). I then dry sanded, wet sanded, painted, wet sanded. Modeled in fusion 360

What's the cheapest you could make the cartridges assuming mass-production?

havent worked that out, would probably need to get in touch with a manufacturer for assuming it's atleast 1/4th of what it is now, perhaps $20. Perhaps even less

a cheap dumbphone that retails for less than $20 has a BOM of around $5 and has CPU, battery and screen. so $20 retail for your cartridge is achievable in volume

good to know

Amazing work, this and the rest of your stuff! Have you written about it on shek.it? I can't find an entry for it.

What about printing little flip books? :) Cool project in any case.

would have to invent a high speed mini printer for that.. next project perhaps :)

I suppose something like an Instax Share printer could work. Not cheap though.

would also need high speed mini bookbinder. wonder if any tech from those automated instant book kiosks would be adaptable. :-P

Awesome work you did there!

I noticed that you don't have to wave it few times before the image appears. That's really cool, but also must be hard to implement. How did you do that, sort of built-in dryer?

Very cool. If you can make that cartridge dirt cheap, you will have invented an exciting new technology. Build a V2 with cheaper tech, change your wording a bit as to what the device does, keep the polaroid link a little bit, but make it your own and then I think you'll have something that could kick ass on Kickstarter.

Don't forget the Harry Potter branding association. That's what will end up bringing in the big bucks.

and the lawsuits

Make the carts NFC and turn Share on when you remove it. You could Tap to swap whatever gif is currently displayed on someone else's cart. That's probably easier than dirt cheap, disposable displays.

Do disposable displays exist? The ones i have, at least, aren't biodegradable at all, and are in fact barely recyclable at all.

Seems like you're proposing an environmental disaster.

The closest kind of such a display I can think of would be a cholesteric liquid crystal display:


...and even that may not be. I only say that it might, because I have a credit-card sized (it looks identical to a credit card - same size, same thickness) device from my bank, that was given to me as a customer for generating a 2-factor authentication number. The number is displayed as a set of 6 7-segment digits on such a display. I've had it for over 15 years, and it is still running off its original battery.

That said, I've never seen such a display which was larger than what is on my card, nor one that had color (the one on my card is a "greyish-green" color). Plus the displays are very slow to update (but, like e-ink displays, they don't need power to retain the image - at least in the short term; over time, the numbers on mine "degrade").

But supposedly, when the card's battery is "used up", and the card no longer works, you're supposed to cut it up along certain "lines" printed on the back of the card, and throw it in the trash. I doubt that it is biodegradable, but it might be recyclable.

The idea is great, but indeed it would induce a lot of preventable waste

You're right that it would be catastrophic using current tech, but I was only thinking in terms of feasibility.

You guys are all nuts for taking this silly project seriously. I'll just use my phone.

This project fits the generation of non-tech adults pretty good. My grandma for example still asks me to clear her sms inbox because phone op spams it with ads and she hardly can do it herself.

Few decades later this will fall off from reality, of course (if we'll still retain the strict sense of reality then at all).

Upd: supporting your point, I suggest all people here evaluate buying this thing vs. buying a tablet with only two functions: view gallery and view image (and seamlessly download these from fixed photostream that you can post to as a remote contributor).

someone on reddit suggested the same.. using NFC is actually a super cool idea I hadn't considered before

And have a button on them that cycles through previously taken gifs.

I think that breaks the model. Make them reusable carts, but each one should hold one image. If you want to take a new image you have to erase an old one.

Gillette razor model?

> If you can make that cartridge dirt cheap, you will have invented an exciting new technology.

Step 1: Have the idea.

Step 2: Implementation.

We're already half way there!


Step 4: Profit!

I missed Step 3!

There is no step 3.



The Waste produced by this device would be immense.

I imagine you don't throw out the picture when you're bored, you just take a new picture over it.

yes, bringing the cost of the cartridge down is definitely something that needs to be worked on.. this one though is entirely built from off the shelf components

Cartridge is easily big enough to contain a camera (see phone tech) so I'm not sure it makes much sense to make a system which separates the two. A digital photo frame with built-in camera seems more plausible, cute as it is to emulate an old Polaroid machine.

Yeah the real jam would be a low profile e-ink + custom pcb "prints." The low fidelity + refresh rate (compared w e.g. an LCD) could be positioned as a feature.

Pretty neat. Crazy it uses an adhoc wifi network to communicate between the camera and the cartridge. Seems overkill for a battery powered device when they are already plugged in to each other physically.

Overkill but much easier from a technical point of view considering what was used to make the cartridge.

My first thought would have been to connect the two PIs with a serial interface. Sure, that's another two pins to connect between camera and cartridge, but on the surface it still sounds easier than setting up a reliable ad-hock wifi. The fact that it would use magnitudes less energy is a bonus.

Of course it might be that OP evaluated that and decided against it for good reasons.

I needed a wireless connection so the cartridge could slide out completely

But then you need to worry about other things and it's also likely much slower.

Ethernet just works it's an established protocol and there aren't that many easy ways to transfer files other than it today that work out of the box and with any combination of hardware and software.

> you need to worry about other things

Serial I/O is common Hello World example for Raspberry Pi. I think you have to worry about less things than adhoc wifi networks.

> likely much slower

It's slower, but not much slower. The baud rate can be set up to 4,000,000, where a megabyte would transfer in 2 seconds. These "gifs" don't seem to be more than 10 seconds long, so they should be less than 1 MB, judging from random Giphy mp4s.

Is common yes but not as easy you can't easily setup file transfer over serial, in this case a simple FTP to a pre determined folder that the screen grabs the gifs from is a heck of a lot easier to setup than sending a binary file over serial.


No, connect them via the USB and configure one of them to appear as a USB Network Interface. Point-to-point connection established. Plenty of HOWTO's available.

Yes, but again this adds complexity. If you use USB you can also emulate one as an MMC device. But overall wifi is simple and guaranteed to work. If this was a product then going the SD card or a "proprietary" protocol is the way to go. But if you are using Ethernet then wifi or wire is simpler. In this case it's also less to worry about electro-mechanical connections.

It does seem like USB could handle the charging and data transfer with some kind of custom connection to make docking and undocking easy.

"Some kind of custom connection" is the real issue here.

I'm imagining a row of pins along the back or bottom of the cartridge, or an edge connector, like in the old Nintendo cartridges.

Remember how after a few months you'd always have to clean those Nintendo cartridge connections otherwise the game wouldn't load?

My point is that making those types of custom, physical connections are kind of a manufacturing nightmare. If the hobbyist that did this was able to do it with WiFi with no need for more manufacturing and making sure the sled would be able to reliably push the pins in every time, then WiFi was the right call in my eyes!

While it's easy to second guess the decisions that were made here, I have to agree that the solution obviously works fine. Since a physical connection to charge the battery pack was designed in, it seems a shame not to utilize the physical connection for data transfer. I personally have an allergy to using wireless when a physical connection is possible, so that's a bias I bring to the table.

I wonder if there's not an off-the-shelf connector that can be used to route power and USB signals which would fill the role. There's nothing saying the connector has to be small, the entire back and underside of the cartridge is available for the purpose. The original Polaroid film packs had two large pads on the bottom and the camera two long springs to connect with them to provide power from the pack to the camera. However, Polaroid didn't have to contend with ejecting the entire pack with every photo.

My bias says that using wifi adds complexity, but I can see that getting the physical connector right is also not as simple as it first appears.

lol guys go see the album, that is exactly what I have done.. there are two copper pads at the back of the cartridge which make contact with two pogo pins when the cartridge is slid all the way in.. so it can charge when its inside and can also be taken out and removed without a problem

The Raspberru Pi has I2C support, right? I would expect that can be used for data transfer, though it will probably be slow.

Shouldn't be too slow as long as the gif isn't much more than a meg or so.

hey, they arent plugged into each other physically.. the cartridge is completely independent, that's how you can pull it out and take it with you

---strike---They are, see image #9: http://i.imgur.com/Bc4NNAL.mp4 ------

Edit: Oh dear, I see you're the creator. I guess I misunderstood. How do the pins play in to the design if not to connect the two devices?

I don't think you read the description on that. When the cartridge is in the camera, it's getting power from the big battery. When ejected, it switches to internal supply.

Also, you replied to the creator of the camera, so I'm going to guess he knows best :)

yup that's correct, the pogo pins just make contact when it is placed inside the camera so the battery gets charged

haha no problem, those are pogo pins just making touch contact when the cartridge is inside.. once you eject the cartridge its own power source takes over.. slide it back in and it starts charging again

If I add up the parts of the cartridge, I come to around $88 (including a $35 touch screen).

The demo makes me wanna take a picture like that and give the cartridge away. Maybe if it can get under $10 that would be feasible? And before that, at $20 or $30 they could sell them at theme parks where they take your picture in a roller coaster.

The price of his battery and power converter are pretty insane, and a Raspberry Pi is convenient but overkill. Given a more price-conscious part choice and at least some volume (since what's the point in building only one cartridge), you should be able to get that to $5 plus display fairly easily. Suitable displays can be found for $10 from Amazon (shipped from China).

So you can probably home-build it for $15. If you're a startup in Shenzhen it might be feasible to sell them assembled for $10 and make a nice profit if you can sell a million of them.

I agree, this is something I built entirely with off the shelf parts so the cost is bound to balloon.. The cost can be brought down significantly like you said

I think most of the cost is just the tradeoff between getting stuff tomorrow, or one month later from china at a fraction at the cost. If money isn't an issue, paying more to get stuff faster is certainly more productive.

How about actually printing, then laminating on a lenticular surface providing a "GIF-sized" short moving-image effect?

[edited per comments]

I presume you mean "lenticular" - which would be a very cool (and possibly mass-producible) alternative. I wonder how you might go about performing the lamination inside the camera... Perhaps you could feed it a pre-laminated sheet that is thin enough that it can be printed on the reverse side?

I would imagine that such a device would be difficult to build so that it works correctly the majority of times it is used. Even if the "reverse printing" idea could be done (I like the idea, btw), it would have to be extremely exact to line up the "pixels" of the images with the individual lenses. Perhaps a print-head with some kind of camera on it to see where it is printing as the head passes over the lens could be done?

Recall that these kinds of "motion picture cards" have been around for decades; at least 40 or 50 years, maybe longer. If such a camera (or even a home-based process) could have been built for consumer use, it probably would have been sold. The fact that it wasn't, and the fact that even during all these years there haven't been many manufacturers of such images, should give you an idea of how difficult registration of the image stripes with the lens can be. A purely mechanical process (printing the image onto some kind of paper, then laminating the lens over the top) probably can't be easily (or cheaply) done - otherwise it likely would have been.

That's just my take on things, of course; maybe I'm completely wrong, or there's some method or such I am missing that could make the system easier to build today? I do think the idea of "reverse printing" might be a step toward it. I can't think of how you'd build such a thing to be hand-held, but I can imagine a desktop-sized machine being potentially possible (again, using some kind of close-imaging camera or some other method to register the printing of the images with the individual lenses on the plastic).

Well, things that may not have been possible printing-wise 10 years ago could be possible today. Meanwhile, in the same time period, the world as a whole is moving away from physical media, so I don't think there's many people working in this space. This is just to say that I wouldn't be surprised if it were possible today, it's just that no one has cared.

Perhaps you could sidestep the “printing” issue by pre-laminating some kind of detachable e-ink display?

It'd also be reusable!

The lenticular surface doesn't have to be very thick at all and if you can print directly onto the plastic I think what you describe would be pretty straightforward to make!

Could print on the lens sheet then put a white sticker on the back. The sticker would protect the print as well as provided white background.

Well there we go. Just fit it into a handheld printer.

That's a great idea. I can imagine a simple hack that modifies a Polaroid Snap [1] or similar so that it prints a lenticular-compatible image, then sticks on a lenticular lens automatically. It might be challenging to keep the lens in alignment with the picture, but I think there are many clever solutions to that issue.

[1] https://www.bestbuy.com/site/polaroid-snap-10-0-megapixel-di...

rectilinear? Do you mean lenticular?

I was expecting a GIF flip book.

That would be cool, though I imagine it would take much longer to print.

That is a cool idea

+1 - I was actually excited about seeing that version

Lenticular Images allow you to create 2D photos that move:


I wonder what the limit of...well for lack of better word 'frames' that would be on such an item?

Gifpop will print ones for you with up to 10 frames:


(disclaimer: I've never used them and have no affiliation)

There's a trade-off: MoreFrames vs. EasierToUse.

Imagine placing one of these images on machine for say telescope positioning and performing a controlled rotation with a perfectly immobile observer. You could probably get 100+ frames. Now imagine pulling it out of your wallet and playing with it the car. A dozen frames at most?

I'd be surprised to get more than 3 or 4 frames. But 4 thoughtfully selected frames can still convey some pretty cool action!

> I replaced the functionality of the black knob. To be honest I don't even know what its purpose was.

Exposure compensation dial.

ah thanks for letting me know! I was just working off images of the camera I found online, I guess I could have actually used it to control exposure on the piCam

I'm old enough to have used the SX-70 and OneStep as a kid. Complete with the flash bulb bar. It helps that my dad owned a darkroom/camera store (and eventually one-hour lab). :-)

This is pretty cool!

I noticed the author decided to use metric thread machine hardware. He's probably an American because he specified McMaster-Carr as a source.

#4 and #6 machine screws are a lot less costly here and available everywhere. (Your hard drive screws are 6-32, same as the electrical wall boxes; floppy 4-40)

I personally hate unified threads, on the basis that the rest of the world uses iso threads. But this is one of those times that being a pedant about it would increase the cost.

I'm just in America but not American which is why I refuse to accept inches and weird numbering for screws haha.. it's worth the few extra bucks for me, you're right though, you could modify the design and use cheaper screws

Yes, this doesn't exactly "print" a GIF, but it's still a cool use of hardware and tech, with a nice writeup of how it was all accomplished.

glad you liked it

Reminds me a bit of the old dreamcast memory card

very neat! I was expecting a hologram print where you move side ways to see image animate. Something like this - https://images.britcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ubersn...

Why specifically the GIF format internally? I haven't seen a GIF come out of a digital camera in ... ever, actually.

In the "new lingo", GIF means a short animated image loop. See, for example, /r/gifs or Twitter's "Add a GIF" feature. A "GIF" can be in .mp4 format, for instance, so there's little connection (other than historical) with the actual GIF image protocol.

Maybe we should distinguish these two meanings (1980's image file format and any short looping video) by pronouncing them differently. I suggest we use the correct pronunciation for the former, and the infamous wrong pronunciation for the latter.

Let's be part of the solution instead of the problem.

It's only a problem if you're a tech pedant.

I'm not a pedant. To me, the word "pedantry" describes the colour of the sky. Get used to it.

To me it describes excessive concern with minor details and rules.

but thats none of my business tho

I think the problem is "what words actually mean" has become a minor detail to some people.

My high school English teacher would not have accepted "language evolves" as an excuse for things like confusing "then" and "than" and not knowing the meaning of the word "literally".

Using literally to mean figuratively is just fine. They're being ironic, or hyperbolic. Then and than mean different things. To a lay person, a gif is a short, looping, soundless video. I'm not sure what is being lost by not distinguishing between this and a short mp4 file with no sound on loop.

Your high school English teacher was wrong. Words mean whatever people think they mean, much like how money is worth whatever people think it's worth. Of course as an individual you can't unilaterally redefine a word, just as you can't declare that a $100 bill is worth as much as a car.

Until it's time to get a normal job.

At most jobs it's more important to communicate effectively than it is to know the historical definitions of words.

Of course, words don't have universal meanings. Lawyers and scientists use the word "theory" differently, for example. In any given environment, you should use words the way the people you need to communicate with expect them to be used.

And then there's the "what file extensions actually mean" problem.

Careful not to cut yourself on that edge.

What would you call a short looping video without sound? GIF works because it's what it evolved from, is still a widely used format, everyone knows the name, and we don't really have a better name for it.

But we could have literal wars over the pronunciation. I just don't want to leave a legacy of pain and violence for the children of the hard G.

yup I too am using the term just to denote a short animated image loop. It's much more efficient to store and send over an mp4 instead which is what I do

Why not call it an MP4 then? Due to MP3 it's recognized as much or more than gif.

doesn't have the same ring to it.. i made a camera that snaps an MP4 and print it.. GIF is more relatable and is becoming the generic lingo to denote this kind of medium

It's a video; a vid. A short video is a clip.

Wait; can't call it that because it loops by default.

Gif it is, then.

Vid is fine, looping is not the marquee feature.

Apple calls them live photos, I like it.

It's... sad.

A few months ago a friend was asking whether I know a service to convert a gif to a video. Which was also sad.

GIF are a great example of a medium that succeeded specifically DUE to it's shortcoming/constraints. In fact most "gifs" on highly visited sites are mp4 videos (which can have audio and longer length). But they pretend to be gif in order to convey original set of affordances of gif format.

that's exactly what I'm doing.. it records an mp4 but I'm using the term GIF to denote a short looping audioless animation

Just a guess: if you wanted to extract one of the images you took with this camera, it's already in the GIF format which people are familiar with.

GIFs are usually compressed so each frame isn’t the full image.

It's probably actually mjpeg - at least that's what I would use.

Shoot videos like it's 1999?

The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones, chapter 12: The Curse of the Compression Artifact.

Great trick with laser cutter and black paint on the pcb. I wonder how end resolution compares to milled pcb.

Also this is one of problems I have with Imgur. How to archive such detailed imgur post?

I have tried ripme [1](great for grabbing image sets without addnotations), printscreen browser extensions (mixed results - most do not cope with floating menus and have problems with dynamic image loading), page saving or printing via browser (similar problems with dynamic loading).

Does anyone have seen something that could archive imgur post with all content?

1. https://github.com/4pr0n/ripme

> Great trick with laser cutter and black paint on the pcb. I wonder how end resolution compares to milled pcb.

Eh, I thought this was a point where they made the wrong call. You can get a much better result for less money and less personal time invested - just wait a week or two - by sending your Gerbers off to be manufactured. PCB manufacture is dirt cheap and has extreme quality compared to home-etching your boards.

In home shop it all comes to what is easiest. Most boards that I do are single runs. If laser cutter can do single run on site without hassle of getting toner transfer or uv run that's great. I did not see that this is different from single run operation (considering how it is wired) so no point to wait for pcbs. That can wait for tens or more pcbs.

Also it boils down to personal need. This is hand crafted and tailored piece. With this setup you can easily modify and correct everything to work.

ya I enjoyed that trick too, it was the first time I had tried it but it worked really well.. You can get the traces to be really fine though I haven't measured the actual doable resolution

Very cool - what settings did you use, and did you have any issues with the copper underneath being reflective? I was thinking of trying this with a K40 for some simple single-layer designs that don't merit waiting a few weeks for fabrication, but I'm a little worried about how shiny and conductive the underlying copper is.

didnt have any issue with the reflectiveness.. I was using a 75w laser printer. Used the etching settings with 100% power 35% speed. Had to do four passes and then wiped it down with a damp towel

unrelated but evernote's webclipper does a good job and can capture the page. You can also 'print to PDF' from your browser.

I will look up webclipper. Printing as I stated (assumed printing to pdf not paper) does not always work as imgur page is dynamic and does not retain all content loaded on screen (at least on Chromium and Vivaldi).

His Hololens Super Mario is awesome as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN95nNDtxjo

I enjoyed seeing the design and build process. There's a long way to go to make a product out of this. I also wonder whether there are legal downsides to using the look and feel of the Polaroid "rainbow" nextstep (which was famously the source of the now-retired Instagram logo).

It would be very neat to have a credit card sized screen with a micro-controller and a bit flash doing the work rather than a full-sized computer.

yup I did think of doing that but wanted to do this version with off the shelf components that others could replicate easily

That makes a lot of sense. It's a great project and I hope you can continue to make refinements to it.

Nice little project, I can only imagine the amount of hours it took to complete, but it is definitely a nice demo of the creator skills. Congrats.

thanks, glad you liked it.. I definitely wasn't doing it with the purpose of showcasing my skills, but more with the purpose of cementing them.. all of this is just a real good bonus :)

Wow, this is awesome! It's like a magic painting from Harry Potter's world, except real. Muggles rule! :-)

glad you liked it!

Very proud to have my fellow ITP'r Shek rock'in the top of these charts.

For those on the cross-roads of life.. Consider NYU's ITP program to be your next spring-board into the future: https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp

you won't regret it.

If only there was a device that could capture several images in succession to create a moving image.

Boy that would be something.

Kodak will release such a device later this year. But it might be vapor ware.

"print" = transfers image data to a removable screen

"GIF" = short video

"dial" = tap light that looks like buttons on a piece of glass

Language evolves.

And until it does, we need people like the GP to translate.

"printing" to a "removable screen" might actually be more eco-friendly than printing a "per-frame polaroid flip-book" which what I assumed initially.

The word print has meant many things throughout history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_printing

The most broad definition: To make an impression or set a mark upon a surface. You could easily call this printing.

thanks, I'm gonna use this line cuz I've been hearing this a lot all day haha

You must be fun at parties. But then again...


I really loved the mechanical design. Designing for 3d printing (especially fdm) can be tricky if you don't want to spend lots of time cleaning up support material. Very cool.

yup you definitely have to keep that in mind while designing. luckily the projet 7000 SLA printer, prints with supports that are actually a pleasure to remove.. You have to be more careful about preventing resin accumulation in any part as it could cause deformations

This has to be one of the best self started little projects I've seen that has the biggest throw back to my childhood growing up when polaroid cameras were popular.

Man, turn that into transparent electronics interlaced with photovoltaic cells.

A lady was looking at me menacingly in a store today as I used the cardboard bags.

I think wizards call this a normal camera.

The camera is not the interesting part. The cartridge is the cool thing, and the camera was designed and built solely as the means to show it off from a very restricted frame of reference.

In order to maximize the effect, the cartridge should be programmed to "develop" the initial image with a visual effect from a black screen, and then hold there for a few seconds. And then, when the person you're showing off to starts to think "Ah, this is just a digital version of a Polaroid photo--that's not so impressive," that is when you start looping the animation.

You have to give the person a chance to make an assumption before you break it.

a lot of people make that assumption long before the cartridge comes out but adding in that second surprise layer might be cool too

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