ImpCam - what more can a camera be?
CIID / DKDS final project 2009
What is a camera when a child holds it, looks into it, and presses the button? For my Final project at the
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) I sought to look at a camera as more than just a
photographic device. I was eager to explore the medium and demonstrate the immense potential a
camera can have.
With that as a starting point I was especially interested in using the medium to explore cameras that a
child would use and enjoy. I based my interest on the fact that a childs experience with objects and
technology around them has an extremely high impact on their overall development, including social
skills, physical activity, mental prowess and emotional engagement. * (refer to paper)
Today's children are born into an age where technology is part of their daily experience. Creating, sharing
and viewing are naturally within their vocabulary where buttons and gadgets are an endless source of
fascination. I see cameras as being part of child's life today beginning at a very early stage, so I have
been trying to understand how these pieces of technology can be adapted so as to have a valuable and
more meaningful impact.
This presentation is my journey to discover interesting new potential for cameras and to actively
engage children in the creation process using a range of design methods and tools.
CAMERAS & PROJECTS I FOUND INTERESTING market research
During the initial stage of my project I found several camera made for children, some interesting and some not so much. Below are
just some of the ones that I found relevant to my project as cameras that are designed rather than just made for children.
The Fun Camera by designer Jian Guan. His inspiration for
the design comes from a magnifying glass. It’s a great
concept and would be a lot of fun to use.
Spy Rod is a camera on a long stick and a fishing line,
Children can see and record the view through the camera
with a ‘viewing box’. Designed by Yumiko Tanaka.
Sony recently revealed a unique looking device that is
powered by kinetic energy! The Twirl n’ Take camera is
charged by giving its circular head a spin.
SketchCam allows children to shoot by tracing paths on a
tactile screen, combining sketching and photography.
The Crayola Kids Camera stores approx. 93 low resolution
photos. I found the shape and design interesting
Tangi Cam allows imitation learning and free playing in a
context of tangible and augmented reality. I found this as an
interesting project due to its affordances to let many children
to play and experience it together at the same time.
1. Can I shoot pictures with
hand gestures? Gestures
have a code for different
2. Remote shooting -
exploring hidden areas
3. Shooting through physical
activities and exercises
4. Capturing images by just
5. Voice and sound activated?
Inspired by my market and
internet research my initial
explorations were too focussed
on the actual camera and
capturing of the image.
I explored ways to share and
store ones data. I tried using
metaphors for a screen, a photo,
and a camera.
Early on into the project I was
certain that beyond taking
pictures what was essential to
a new camera would be time
after the photo was taken!
heading to a local school
I always knew I had to work with children and learn from them, so at this point of the project I took the leap and
decided to work with a whole classroom full of children! Working with both boys and girls and children with vastly
different interests really helped me with my research and inspiration.
The first day of interactions began with me starting a discussion about art - sketching and painting, what they do,
how they do it and why they do it. I hoped to then steer the conversation into photographs and photography and
then to cameras.
age group 7-9 years
“I want to share and view my pictures
“ I want to see the picture when inside a tree trunk because it's cosy
I hold the camera up to the sun ” and in nature ”
some of designs from the Play Dough some of the responses in the worksheet
At the end of our discussion, I told the class “I am trying to make a At the close of Day 1 the children were asked to take a worksheet
camera for children, and I don't know what to do, who would like to each and fill them out. Again, I kept the exercise as open as possible
help me make a camera?” Every hand in the class room shot up - I to get the best results possible.
used design methods and references from journals and an IDEO
study on how to interact with children to make the most of a session. Draw one great adventure you will have with your new camera! Be
as creative and imaginative as you can!
The rest of the session was spent on making different cameras from Who will you show your wonderful pictures to?
Play Dough (clay). This was one of the most inspiring research How will you show it to them? Try and think of a new way to do it!
sessions I have had and a lot of interesting ideas and ‘designs’ were Remember you don't have to use a computer to show pictures!
created that day.
The results were, again, very inspiring and informative! As I was
decoding the meaning and insights from each of the worksheets,
there was a lot material and inspiration in them.
feel free to watch highlights of the session - “Play Dough” movie appendix (0:57 secs)
RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
At this stage I reviewed all the worksheets and made a map to find a thread between the responses. It was important for me at this
point to make meaning and find inspiration to move onto the next step in the design process. The map was divided into “what I
learnt” (Direct quotes from the children), “what it means” (my inferences and the underlying meaning of each statement) “how might
we” (design questions, next page) . Listed below are a few of the interesting threads I chose to work with
I want to show my pictures to my family and friends (all 21 kids Interesting that every kid chose only family and friends. It goes to
had the same answer) show kids aren't as interested in 'social networking' like everybody
else. Relationships and feedback is immediate.
It feels good to have a physical and tangible out-
I want my pictures and drawings framed come.
I want to project my images into a frame and use my camera Very comfortable with technology and they can 'visualise' and imag-
as a remote ine the transmission of data.
Interested in something that can do many things and has many func-
I camera that looks 'gadget-y' tions – or atleast look like it can
want something that is a secret, something only you know how to do.
I want to see the picture when I hold the camera up to the sun. It's a unique and personal viewing experience specific to you.
I want to share and view my pictures inside a tree trunk viewing and sharing pictures is an event, its a time to gather and feel
because it's cosy and in nature cosy – like around the family photo album
Put the camera into the oven then put it into a washing ma- go through many processes to then view your image. It takes more
chine and then put it into a computer to view the images than clicking to 'prepare' the photo
I want a shared device with my mother a device that updates the other device on the go.
Wants to be able to do things with the camera that one normally
A camera inside a dog bone. So I can see inside his mouth wouldn't be able to do. Technology can tend to be very delicate at
HOW MIGHT WE’s and BRAINSTORMING
formulating a design brief
How might we turn viewing photographs in a social
experience? what tools can we provide to achieve this?
How might we develop new ways to share and view images? If
we could, how can we make it a tangible experience?
How might we create game using cameras?educational games
exercise games plain old fun or anything you can think of!
How might we enable the act of photography to be more
than just clicking a button?
How might we link more than one camera together? Is
there a benefit to have buddy cameras?
At this stage I formulated a design brief and challenge, and posed them as
concise points to have a brainstorm around. I facilitated a series of
brainstorming sessions that were very successful as many new and exciting
concepts and ideas were born from it.
The next step I took was to cluster and group the concepts so I could work
with them better. From the various groupings several workable concepts
were born, and from concepts working prototypes were born.
samples from concept generation (150+ ideas)
I created a working prototype with which to test my ideas and concepts and
more importantly to provide a means for experience testing with children.
Cameras designed for an earlier project were hacked
and modified to work with my concepts
Webcam with a button routed through an Arduino and
Processing to run the code
Quick Concept test 1
In this idea I tested out augmenting the screen with a
shape and latter with alphabets. The object was to find
the shape in the natural environment around you
Quick Concept test 2
The second concept was a game one played with their
surroundings. Augmented on the screen is a “ball” and
a “hole”, and the object of the game is get the ball into
the hole by making a path between the two. The only
rule is that the path has to be a line in the real world
joining the two!
EXPERIENCE TESTING AND PROTOTYPES
I conducted several experience testing and
prototypes. the best way to validate, test, check
ideas and concepts is to re-create an as best as
one can the experience the user gets from your
3 rounds of experience testing with 4 different
children to gauge their experience and reactions of
the changing concept (made better)
Some of the things I wanted to learn about
How easy are the concepts to grasp?
How easy is it to use?
How much interest is generated?
Limitations of the idea (physical, conceptual, etc)
Some of the things I learnt
Game like features are more engaging
Sticking to the age group is vital!
Children are very comfortable with technology
Needs for the physical product
Non entertainment scenarios might work as well!
experience testing with children
GOALS AND CONCEPTS
At this stage I set myself a set of goals for the project and came up with jump forward
concepts to work on armed with inspiration from my research and
Communication and Interpersonal skills among peers
"Get Outside and Play"
See the world around them from a different perspective
New ways to view and share images
Tactile with a sense of awe and wonder
Concept 3 Scavenger
Going by my deep desire to enable
social interaction and at the same time
to get children and play outside more,
I designed this concept where one
plays the traditional ‘scavenger hunt’
game using a camera, and playing
Watch video : Concept Video
Concept 2 Puzzle
What does one do with all the images they
Concept 1 HANGMAN
shoot? In this concept, the user chooses an
Similar to the camera game prototype I created with old image(or new) and physically shakes the
augmented graphics on the screen. In this concept the camera, to create a jig saw puzzle from the
user has to match alphabets on the screen to ‘alphabet image!
shapes’ found in the real world around them. I re-created
Watch video : Concept Video
the classic Hangman game - Only, with a camera
* PLEASE NOTE: All concepts have accompanying videos, and have
Watch video : Concept Video to be watched to better understand the idea
CONCEPTS concepts I worked with ImpCam 2
your friends after receiving your image the
ImpCam only way your friend can see the
Concept 4 MAGIC image(s) is by physically coming
in contact with you. Once both the
With this concept I try to answer my your friends
ImpCams are in range the images
question in the beginning - can I create a ImpCam
show up on the screen.
new way to share and view images.
The touch screen enables control there’s no reason, your friend
Watch video : Concept Video
over the slideshow. should be able to ‘keep’ your
photos. In my research I found
‘permanence’ a very interesting
Concept 5 LINE GAME research area. Permanence vs.
In this game the player has to guide the Interest.
character to safety (door) avoiding enemies
- the only catch is, one has to find the path
using lines in the real world. Please watch
the video to understand more
Watch video : Line Game
SCREEN PROTOTYPES working on GUI elements
MODEL PROTOTYPE AND
I relied largely on existing toys and designs to work out
the ergonomics to create my prototype due to time
constraints. I modelled a lot of my prototypes on
handheld video game devices, and used the IPhone
as a prototyping platform.
It was extremely easy and quick to make mock ups
and software prototypes that could be quickly tested. I
learned a lot about using existing products in the
market to get work done rapidly and efficiently.
I used the models in the video scenarios (which were
mini experience tests themselves) And made a final
working prototype out of acrylic plastic which is my
ImpCam final design (my design)
stills from video prototyping
basic version of evolution of form
I recently graduated from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Denmark with a Masters in Interaction Design
as part of the Pilot year. I have a background in Furniture and Product design and I really enjoy working in the fields of
Interaction Design, User Experience, Service Design and Product Design and have a keen interest in a process driven
approach to Product Development and Design. Originally from India, I now live in Denmark working on interesting and
engaging projects in the field of User experience and Interaction design.
My interest in Interaction design began when I began paying the electricity bill for my house every month at the
automatic billing machine around the corner. The kiosk is built into the wall and takes almost as much space as a
doorway, in-fact it is a doorway, a peek into technology and an example of the rapid development of my country (India).
There are two ways to use the machine but only one way to pay my bill at this 24 hr kiosk, one of them is to arrive at the
kiosk at anytime between 10 am and 5 PM, in order to catch the attendant, who is present to collect my bill, scan the
bar-code, punch in the appropriate numbers, feed my money into the machine, tear off the printed receipt and hand it
over to me. The second way to pay my bill is, to walk up to the kiosk at anytime ie: when the attendant is unavailable -
maybe on a lunch break, or after 5pm. The only problem with this approach is that the ‘user friendly’ machine is
frustratingly un-cooperative to my needs. So we’re back at option one, a ‘convenient’ automated machine with a clerk to
handle it and a long queue.
What’s the difference between paying your bill at a manned window and the automated machine? Well none, unless like
me, one enjoys the sound the machine makes when it ‘sucks’ my money in.
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