The Camera that Helps You not be Basic

A sunset, today’s lunch, anything of even trivial importance seems to trigger the uncontrollable urge to whip out a phone and snag a pic. This is usually followed up by posting it on some social outlet after meticulous selection of geotag, caption, and some idyllic permutation of emojis (our newsfeeds are literally a sea of weird facial expressions and hamburger icons). Although no one can stop you from making painfully corny captions, German designer Philip Schmitt is reigning in our ability to take pictures in the same cliché places with a device he’s called the Camera Restricta.

The camera uses GPS to scan an area of roughly 35×55 meters. As it scans it runs a geo-tag search to see how many others have tagged the same location. If the geo-tag mass is too large, the lens is drawn back and makes a (shaming) robotic sound, denying the uncontrollable desire to document. In other words, it tells you you’re about to take an extremely basic photo.

Stefon is forever shameless

Shame aside, the camera’s primary purpose is to encourage originality. The attached promotional video shows a user traveling around Copenhagen, passing monument after monument as the geo-tag numbers stack up. In locations foreign to the camera, the lens is released with a click more satisfying than that burger you tried to take a picture of – before the camera shunned you.

But just because it’s location wary doesn’t mean it’s tuned to calculate exactly where the camera is aimed. You may be at the most cliché place but who’s to say you’re taking the same picture as everyone else? No matter how much you plead innocent of being basic, your ability to get that pic may nonetheless be denied. Until some super nit-picky algorithm comes along to help us avoid clichés, we’ll have to try our best to be original with this latest gadget.

But side note, cool it with the food pics. We’re starving.

Curious how it works? Check it out.

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