The BigShot is a cool do-it-yourself-camera designed to teach kids the inner workings of one of today’s hottest tech items. Developed by professor Shree Nayar and a team of students and faculty at Columbia University’s Computer Vision Laboratory, the camera looks to combine tinkering and play.
The BigShot comes in a bunch of different pieces that must be assembled before it can be used. A manual shows how the pieces go together. Even after assembly, the back casing is clear with labels for each of the visible parts.
The BigShot is a basic point and shoot camera that lacks some features like a rear LCD screen for lining up shots and checking out the results. Despite it’s limitations, it does have some features that would make even a DSLR own jealous.
The lens wheel on the front has three different modes: normal, panoramic for extra wide shots, and stereoscopic 3-D photos that can later be viewed with the old-school red and blue glasses. The photos are saved to the camera’s flash memory that allows the camera to be connected easily to any computer via a USB port.
Nayar says his team has tested the camera extensively across the world, and found that most children 8 to 14 years old can put the camera together in less than 30 minutes.
The camera is also eco-friendly. It needs a single AA battery, but a hand crank is also available for charging.
BigShot owners also have access to a website built by the Columbia students that goes deeper into the workings of the DIY camera and other materials related to photography. The site also includes includes instructions on other educational DIY home projects.
Nayar says the BigShot isn’t available yet because the enterprise is still looking for licensing, but hopes that it eventually makes it on the market for $40.