Polaroid Catcher make Print Screen do what it says

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As part of their coursework at ITP New York a group of students developed the Polaroid Catcher. It’s a way to make your digital experiences more permanent. When you have something on-screen that you’d like to keep as a memory you can print the screen on this old Polaroid camera. Of course you’re not going to get the chemical-filled container you may remember from ages past. But we thing you’d agree the nostalgic camera makes a nice enclosure for a modern image printer.

The workings of the system are shown off quite well in the clip after the break. But we’re always interested in the particulars of how they pulled it off. The system uses a Google Chrome extension to capture what is being displayed in the browser. Before the image is sent to the printer the user has the opportunity to frame up the subject of the photo. Once decided, the image is pushed to a Bluetooth photo printer using some scripts written by the team.

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A computer-controlled shutter for Polaroid packfilm cameras

[Georg] wanted to modify his old Polaroid land camera so he could have control over the exposure time. The resulting project is a neat hack, if we say so ourselves.

The stock electronics in Polaroid 100-series Packfilm cameras were a simple analog computer that integrates current through a light-sensitive resistor. This is a simple, low tech way to make sure the exposure time is correct. The usual mod would be to replace photoresistor with a potentiometer, but [Georg] had little success with this modification. After tearing the old hack out of the camera, [Georg] replaced the ancient electronics with a a PIC microcontroller, and is now able to control the shutter in increments down to 1/512th of a second.

Shutter timing is read by a PIC12F629 μC with a BCD encoder. [Georg] kept the shutter magnet setup, and also added a ‘BULB’ routine that holds the shutter open as long as the button is held down. The test photos are quite nice, even if from a 1960s Polaroid Land Camera. Check out the video of [Georg] running though the shutter settings after the break.

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Convert an early 60s Polaroid to modern film

[Adam] sent in this cool project. He has modified a Polaroid J66 camera to use modern film. Most of the initial modifications look fairly simple, but things get a little more complicated when they also convert it to a fully manual camera. There is a section that explains a neat little trick of using a cheap solar panel attached to your computer sound card to figure out what ISO the camera is shooting at.

Polaroid instant film, reborn.

The impossible has happened. While that may sound a bit over dramatic, the project itself was titled “the impossible project”. What is it that is so impossible? The revival of Polaroid instant film.  This is not a newer, digital alternative, this is film you can actually buy and plop into your old Polaroid camera. What’s the big deal? All they had to do was start producing it again right? Not really. They’ve completely re-engineered it from scratch. That’s pretty impressive.  We had heard, early last year, that they were going to attempt it, and we’re pleased to see that they’ve succeeded.

That being said, a handheld, home hacked digital instant picture device sounds kind of cool. It would probably be an easy one to build too.

Experiments in polaroid

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[Peter] found that Polaroid film was an easy medium to play with, as the ability to develop it is built in. He has done several fun experiments, from electrocuting it to making giant mozaics. The Polaroid film may not be easy to get your hands on though. They stopped producing it in the summer of 2008. Some former employees are trying hard to get it back into production, but that may never happen. Polaroid has recently received permission to sell itself at auction. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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