Cameras that people can 3D print, assemble, and modify themselves have been developed as part of a Goldsmiths, University of London design project.
The cameras are one of a range of devices called Probe Tools, designed by the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, intended to inspire people to do their own – serious or fun – visual research.
The 3D printed ‘TaskCam’ has a small screen on the back that shows a scrollable list of requests for pictures. Researchers can load their own list of requests onto the camera to prepare for a study. When users take a picture, the image is tagged with the current request, and stored on a standard flash drive that can be removed for downloading.
Other Probe Tools include ‘VisionCam’, which uses computer vision technology to automatically produce stop-frame line animations from incoming video, and the ‘Automatic Interviewer’, due to be released next month, which uses speech generation to read questions from a text file provided by researchers, then records users’ replies for up to 30 seconds.
The Probe Tools range is on show from 14 June 2018 at the Ace Hotel London, Shoreditch. Guests will be invited to use the devices to capture photo, video, and audio content that will contribute to an exhibition at the hotel which runs until 12 August 2018.
Professor Bill Gaver, Probe Tools project leader and co-director of the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, said: “These devices have grown out of work we started in 1999 with kits of disposable conventional cameras, postcards, maps and photo albums for people to experiment with.
“Since we introduced the first Cultural Probes, disposable cameras have become rarer and smartphones and digital cameras lack the constraints that users enjoy and make for interesting research. ProbeTools are designed to fill this gap and, with features such as computer vision, motion sensing, time lapse photography, and audio, they don’t just recreate disposable cameras but open up dramatic new opportunities for research.”
Probe Tools have been developed as part of a project sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.