~ Flow

What I'm Working On: A stream of extraneous projects and thoughts.

~ Flow

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Projects, Thoughts, Ideas

Point & Shoot - 2015

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A camera built inside a toy ray gun. 

I was inspired by my courses in my digital media honors program, and our study into the advent of smartphone cameras. I wanted to build something that emphasized the power that ubiquitous point-and-shoot digital cameras have in our lives. Point-and-shoot conjured up a literal gun with a camera lens in the barrel, and I was inspired to bring this vision to life.

So, I ordered a toy ray gun and the necessary Arduino hardware in the mail, and hit the Bitcamp hackathon determined to make it happen. 


The camera's controls needed to be simple, a single control. Pull the trigger, snap a photo an the SD card. The SD card would need to be in an accessible place, and the entire setup would need an on-board power supply. Additionally, indicator lights would show targets exactly when they were being photographed, in lieu of the blaster sound of the original hardware which, unfortunately, was not preserved.

The primary difficulties in creating this project involved the realization of this simple design using the technology available. Interfacing with the camera chip selected required working with out-of-date open-source libraries online. The buffer size of the Arduino couldn't contain the entire image, so coordinating the writing of data to a file on the SD card, 64 bytes by 64 bytes, proved a bit of a challenge. An additional challenge was configuring hardware connections between the trigger, Arduino, and camera chip. Internet research combined with a lot of trial and error worked wonders.

Ultimately, the camera came together in time for the conclusion of the hackathon, I was able to point and shoot some digital photos, which ended up looking a bit like a digital version of Lomography.