It’s been forty years since the Polaroid OneStep camera made its debut, and we’re still enamored with its design and function today. Designer, coder, and maker Abhishek Singh has built a fun DIY camera that’s inspired by this analog device but updates it for the 21st century. Calling his creation the Instagif NextStep, he takes the iconic camera body design and modernizes it with a cartridge that ejects animated GIFs in a manner similar to its predecessor. Once you snap a photo, you’ll have a moving picture to hold in your hand.
It was no small feat to conceive of and execute the Instagif NextStep. “What I love about these kinds of projects is that they involve a bunch of different skill sets and disciplines,” Singh writes in an Imgur post, “hardware, software, 3D modeling, 3D printing, circuit design, mechanical/electrical engineering, design, fabrication, [all] need to be integrated for it to work seamlessly.”
Also in his post, Singh offers a detailed account of his build process—as well as links to all the code, eagle files, and design files so you can replicate the NextStep on your own. But beware, this digital Polaroid is probably not for the casual DIYer. Not only did Singh assemble the 3D printed camera body, but he had to put together a separate cartridge pack to display the GIFs. This included a Raspberry Pi computer, battery pack, screen, and more—all “packed like sardines.”
The hard work and troubleshooting was worth it. Once complete, the NextStep works similar to its predecessor. After powering on the camera and GIF cartridge, you simply click a red button to capture three seconds of movement. When the picture is ready, it pops from the camera and is ready for you to enjoy.