Some projects just seem to stand above the rest, because of the complexity of the work, polish of the finished product, and unique premise tying it all together. Instagif, created by Abhishek Singh, is one of those projects where everything seems to have come together perfectly. It’s a mechatronics engineering marvel, and Singh is able to really showcase his interdisciplinary chops with it.
Polaroid was the charming camera company that won our hearts with their instant film cameras. In the pre-smartphone era, Polaroids were how people around the globe got their selfie on. But, we’re spoiled these days with our Snapchat filters and animated GIFs. Singh built Instagif as a Polaroid camera for the modern era, and the concept is brilliant. The user can record a short GIF, and Instagif ejects a small cartridge with a screen for viewing the recording.
This is accomplished by using two Raspberry Pis: one Raspberry Pi 3 lives inside the body of the camera, and is used to take the video and process it into a GIF. That is then sent (over an Ad Hoc WiFi connection) to a Raspberry Pi Zero W, which is stored inside of the “film” cartridge. That cartridge also contains a LiPo battery (and charger) and a TFT screen.
Following along with the detailed Intsagif build log shows just how much work went into the device. It combines mechanical engineering (particularly on the cartridge ejection mechanism), electrical engineering for tying all of the components together, programming to record the video and process it into a GIF, and industrial design to make it all look great.
Every part of Instagif was a custom design created by Singh, and his attention to detail really shows. The finished device looks fantastic, and it seems to function really well. It looks like it’d be a lot of fun at a party, and might just get people away from their smartphones for a bit.
Want to reproduce the Instagif for yourself? Luckily, Singh has .