Bringing back old tech is one thing, but what about reinventing it altogether? One Redditor named Abhishek Singh did just this after pondering if it would be possible to hold a GIF in your hand. The result: a DIY Polaroid camera that “prints” GIFs.
Inspired by the Polaroid OneStep camera (the SX-70, specifically), Singh’s version is called an Instagif and looks almost exactly the same, but instead of printing to film, it ejects a Polaroid-sized LCD that plays back a just-recorded GIF. It’s even programmed to slowly fade in the way a Polaroid photo would, then play at a regular frame rate once the GIF begins to loop.
Over the course of four weeks, Singh built the camera from scratch, and thinks that now that he’s worked it all out, it could be built again in about half the time. He modeled and 3D printed the camera himself, and used a Raspberry Pi in both the camera and the cartridge. The end result is, well, exactly what Singh had originally envisioned: a GIF you can hold in your hand. Is it practical? Hell no. Is it amusing and fun? Yup. As one comment on the Reddit thread neatly summed it all up: “This is incredibly silly and entirely pointless. Great project, made me smile.” Me too.
If you’re interested in making your own or diving into exactly how Singh made the camera from beginning to end, he documented the entire process at length in an Imgur album and has posted all the necessary code on GitHub.