This Guy Built A Camera That Instantly Prints GIFs

"I like building things that delight people or surprise them because it does something they didn't expect it to do."

Wouldn't it be cool if you could instantly print a GIF and hold it in your hand like you can a Polaroid picture? Abhishek Singh sure thought so — so he did what anyone who loves to build things would do. The 28-year-old created it himself. 

"I tend to like GIFs, some of my earlier projects have revolved around them as well, and this idea just popped in my head," he told A Plus. "Something about holding a moving image in your hand sounded intriguing and I chose to go down the rabbit hole."

Inspired by the Polaroid OneStep and excited by the opportunity to work on a project that involves different skill sets and disciplines, Singh got to work. 

"These projects end up being a series of never-ending problems and, other than learning hard skills, I enjoy the process of coming up with creative solutions to problems," he said. "And there were a bunch of problems every step of the way." 

But after about four weeks of problem-solving and working with hardware, software, 3-D printing, mechanical engineering, and more, Singh was able to "print" his first GIF on the camera he's named the "Instagif NextStep." 

It works similarly to the Polaroid camera it was inspired by. After powering it on, Singh simply presses a button and poses for a three-second-long GIF. Then, the GIF pops out of the camera on a small, portable cartridge. Voilà! A GIF you can hold in your hands. 

The custom camera can capture a moving picture that'll play over and over again until you use it to take another GIF. "Or if the battery dies," Singh explained. "But if you keep it charged up then it'll loop endlessly." 

"I like building things that delight people or surprise them because it does something they didn't expect it to do, which I think I achieved [with this project]," Singh said. "I also like the discussions it generates about future possibilities and sometimes building and putting a concept out there helps in kickstarting that. And if someone chooses to build it themselves, I'm sure they'll learn a lot as well." 

Singh actually shared step-by-step instructions on Imgur and uploaded the necessary code someone would need to recreate it themselves. "I learned a lot from others who chose to share their knowledge on the internet, so this is my way of giving back somehow," he said. "Good things come from sharing knowledge." 

By looking at those instructions, you can how many technical skills Singh had to utilize to finish the Instagif NextStep. Interestingly enough, Singh's background isn't in tech. He studied business in undergrad before teaching himself some of the technical skills he needed to work on these kinds of cool projects. Then, he attended a grad program at New York University to enhance those skills. 

His experience is one more reminder that it's never too late to pursue your passion and learn new skills. Interested in starting something new by building one of these cameras yourself? Check out his thorough instructions

Singh says he's got some other exciting projects in the works, but only shares them when they are finished. We can't wait to see what he builds next. 

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