Cameras have become wonderfully mindless to use. Thanks to the large screen of the modern smartphone, a real-time image preview and a lot of smart back-end processing, it’s hard to take a lousy photo of anything. Just frame a shot, and whatever you see is yours forever.
But imagine if you didn’t even need your cell phone. The Ubi-Camera, by researchers at IAMAS, may be the most organically designed gadget in photography’s century-old history. It’s a camera that fits on your finger, allowing you to frame a shot with your fingers alone. To zoom in or out, just move your hands closer or further from your eyes and the camera will adjust the shot to match. (Technically, the Ubi-Camera is using IR to measure the distance from the user’s face at all times, and it digitally zooms in and out accordingly.)
Right now, the camera is just a prototype, and it has to be tethered to a computer at all times. But imagine the possibilities in human device interaction.
In the year 2012, we’re a culture obsessed with screens—technology that often represents the world around us in a low-fidelity way. In 2022 (or more likely much, much sooner), it’s easy to imagine our view growing from its current 4-inch confines into something that spans our entire vision. And when this happens, organic interactions—like framing or tapping anything in your natural, uncropped sight—will have the potential to take over UI at all levels of computing. (Just like we’ve seen concepts like Google’s Project Glass that enable taking photos to be as simple as looking at them.)
Now, framing a photo with your fingers might be a bit gimmicky compared to snapping photos effortlessly through the blink of an eye, but that doesn’t take anything away from Ubi-Camera’s design-forward accomplishment, or its role in a greater trend. Our lovable, USB-pluggable technology are shrinking until they all but disappear. And screens, despite their current ubiquity, have a shelf-life like any other technology.
Because, as great as our clever tools may be, we don’t use a fork to pick our noses for a reason: Our fingers will always feel a whole lot better than anything else.
[Hat tip: PetaPixel]