What if Instagram made a standalone camera?


May 10, 2012

An Italian design studio has developed a concept for a standalone Instagram camera that mixes Polaroid-like printing with social networking

An Italian design studio has developed a concept for a standalone Instagram camera that mixes Polaroid-like printing with social networking

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Instagram is enjoying a wealth of success right now, particularly after being picked up by Facebook last month for a cool US$1 billion. The photo-sharing network's social apps have become some of the most popular in the world, and one design studio in Italy is wondering what it would look like if the company decided to make its own hardware as well. ADR Studio has put together a fairly detailed concept for just such a device, called the "Instagram Socialmatic," which merges online photo-sharing with instant Polaroid-like prints for sharing in the offline world.

At a glance, the concept's look is modeled almost entirely after the familiar Instagram app icon, as if it were plucked right from an iPhone's screen and enlarged. Like most digital cameras, the concept sports a touchscreen, LED flash, and optical zoom, plus 16 GB of media storage. It also has two lenses: one for capturing images, and one for applying 3D filters, scanning QR codes, and using webcam applications. Since it's a camera built around Instagram, the concept has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity along with integrated Facebook and Instagram apps for uploading photos.

The Instagram Socialmatic's most interesting features however are located within its stylish exterior. An internal printer loaded with refillable paper sheets and a four-color ink cartridge produces physical copies of any photo. Each image prints with a bar at the top listing the username of the person who took it and a QR code that anyone can scan to start following that user's profile. To mimic the social networking aspects of Instagram in real life, the paper leaves a space for writing in captions/comments at the bottom and has an adhesive strip on the back to stick it anywhere. The photos are also printed fully formed, so there's no need to wait for images to develop like with a Polaroid.

Sadly, unless Instagram and Facebook decide to wildly change their business model, this camera will likely remain just an idea. As a concept for taking photo sharing networks offline though, the Instagram Socialmatic is fairly compelling, even if it does encourage people to basically litter to show off their pictures.

Source: ADR Studio

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

It looks like a plumped up floppy disk. The ink cartridge would be far too small and would have to cost way too much.

What would be better is to invent a color thermal paper. Not thermal transfer, a technology where CMY or CMYK is embedded in the paper and heat activated.

Another possibility would be a direct electrophoretic method where the color of each pixel is altered directly as the paper passes the print head, instead of having a conventional drive matrix like displays require.

That would have the possibility of making the prints reusable by putting them back into the camera. If you don't want them reusable, have a clear overlay on the sheet with a fixing agent which is pressed into the backing as the photo is ejected from the camera.

Gregg Eshelman

Let me guess... the ink cartridges cost as much as the camera. 8^|


This would work much better as a case attachment for the iphone

Peter Kowalchuk-Reid

It looks amazing, i like how the concept has taken design features from the iPhone. The metal band around the edge, looking at the screen it has the apple bar at the top (with the time etc). I think it looks amazing though.

Zachary Hammersley
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