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Camera Restricta Guarantees Original Instagrams

Designer Phillipp Schmitt wants you to not only take better photos for sharing online, but original ones. His conceptual 3D printed Camera Restricta uses GPS technology to determine the photographer’s location, cross referencing this position against an online database of geotagged photographs taken from the same spot. If too many snapshots already have been taken from the same coordinates, the camera retracts the shutter and blocks the viewfinder. This is a camera which demands originality.

The camera also offers an amusing acoustic feedback feature that operates like a geiger counter: for every photo already geotagged nearby, a clicking sound is produced. Thus, a photographer could use this audio feedback to hunt out a unique position and perspective to photograph from, in the process also becoming aware of all of the places and spaces where the public was drawn to stand from while hitting the shutter button.

The Camera Restricta's 3D-printed camera body houses  a ATTiny85 microcontroller, alongside a  smartphone for handling GPS, geotagging queries, and for the camera screen.

The Camera Restricta’s 3D-printed camera body houses a ATTiny85 microcontroller, alongside a smartphone for handling GPS, geotagging queries, and for the camera screen.

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The camera cross references GPS location and an area of roughly 35x35 meters for geotagged photos taken from the same coordinates before allowing the photographer to snap a shot.

The camera cross references GPS location and an area of roughly 35×35 meters for geotagged photos taken from the same coordinates before allowing the photographer to snap a shot.

Schmitt calls his device a “disobedient tool for taking unique photographs” – a social, political, and technological tool designed to explore what it means to be a photographer in a time when digital technology permits an infinite stream of images to be captured, uploaded, and viewed in an instant. Obviously a conceptual piece, Schmitt’s camera is a fascinating use of location-based metadata for coordinating originality and censorship via forced restriction which may creep in some shape or form into real world use…for better or for worse.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.