Totally awesome galaxy, dude!

A paper camera

Okay, this rocks like an Aerosmith concert. There’s a web site that lets you download plans to build a Dirkon, a famous Czech camera made out of paper:

During the 1970s, magazines published in Communist Czechoslovakia were controlled by the state, like the majority of other enterprises. Very few good magazines were available and were difficult to get hold of, so people would borrow and exchange them when given the opportunity. This also applied to magazines aimed at young people, which was probably one of the reasons why almost everyone from my generation, when we get on to the subject of pinhole cameras, has fond memories of the cut-out paper camera known as Dirkon*, published in 1979 in the magazine ABC mladých technikù a pøírodovìdcù [An ABC of Young Technicians and Natural Scientists].

Its creators, Martin Pilný, Mirek Koláø and Richard Vyškovský, came up with a functional pinhole camera made of stiff paper, designed for 35 mm film, which resembles a real camera.

The plans are in PDF format for easy printing and pasting onto stiff cardboard. A picture taken with a Dirkon is shown above; it’s kind of blurry and out of focus, but, as with all retrotech — such as the Fisher Price Pixelvision video camera — the low-fi qualities are precisely what make it cool.

I am so going to make one of these things! Right after I make my paper Ipod, of course. (Actually, I’m almost seriously considering buying a small, crappy used flash-memory MP3 player and putting it inside a paper Ipod shell, just, well, because.)

(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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