Here’s a new twist on an old concept: The instant camera.
PrintSnap, a self-contained camera now in the planning stages by electrical engineer Michael Ciuffo, will use standard cash register receipt paper to print pictures on the spot in a mashup of a really long film roll and a Polaroid.
The camera is a bit of a low-tech novelty, designed to let you enjoy taking pictures in volume while disconnected from the online world.
PrintSnap’s output is destined to be a little different than what most people are used to. Images are 3 x 1.75 inches — a convenient size for a wallet or scrapbook. Monochromatic receipt paper will fade over time unless you do something to protect or copy it, but judging from the samples Ciuffo has posted, it has a unique, halftone sort of look.
Right now, the PrintSnap prototype –which measures 3.25 x 6.75 x 3 inches and weighs 1.45 pounds — is constructed from walnut, but Ciuffo plans to develop a lighter, lower cost plastic model.
Because the PrintSnap camera cannot store or transmit digital photos, you don’t have to worry about your pictures showing up online or falling into the hands of strangers. PrintSnap can accommodate standard 2 1/4-inch thermal paper of up to 50 feet, letting you shoot up to 150 pictures without batteries, memory cards or film.
When you need a refill, just cruise by an office supply store or any Website that sells office supplies. BPA-free paper is available, for those concerned about toxic chemicals.
What about picture quality? PrintSnap’s resolution is 640 x 384 pixels, just high enough to capture your memories on paper. And at such a low price — each picture costs just $0.003, a fraction of a penny — you don’t have to worry about how many shots you take. The price of eight Polaroid 600-type images, yields over 8,000 PrintSnaps.
Considering that most Polaroid camera images were less than stellar, but rather expensive, this camera is designed to be more economical while preserving the fun of instant pictures. PrintSnap does not have a built-in printer, thus it doesn’t use ink or have any print heads that get clogged.
When can you get your hands on a PrintSnap? Not so fast. The instant cam is still under development, and the price has not yet been worked out.