As part of a workshop at the Art and Design School of Geneva, Niklas Roy has come up with a portrait camera using a single light-dependent resistor for sensing. While normal cameras are able to take images in an instant, users of this device need to keep their heads still under a shroud for 83 seconds while it captures one’s black and white likeness in a 50x50 resolution.
During this nearly minute and a half, a projector progressively sweeps over one’s face, recording the light intensities that are reflected back to the setup’s single sensor. A Processing sketch controls the projected image and records light intensities using an Arduino running Firmata firmware. This allows the computer to access sensor readings without writing any Arduino code.
It’s also possible to use the Pixel Portrait Camera — built out of cardboard boxes found in the school’s basement — to sense color, though this takes three times as long, and the resulting image is quite noisy. If this concept sounds familiar, we covered a similar single-sensor configuration here that scans an object’s profile. It was even used 100 years ago in a technique called flying-spot scanning, which was able to record several images per second.