You might look pretty dorky these days if you make a frame from your fingers and start sizing up the world around you. But it’s actually a surprisingly good way to separate out parts of the landscape, especially for artists using pencils or paint who may not be carrying a camera.
But what about combining the two? That’s just what the nerds have done down at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan. The Ubi-Camera is a tiny digicam which uses your fingers as the viewfinder, and even allows you to zoom.
To use the Ubi-Camera, you stick a your left index finger into a hole on the side. Then you frame up and compose. A detector knows how far your fingers are from your head, and adjust the zoom level accordingly, so it should match what you see through your finger-hole. Thus, moving your fingers closer to your eyes gives a wider angle shot.
The current prototype has a fixed lens and uses a digital zoom on a connected PC, but a self-contained version with a zoom lens should be easy enough, in technical terms at least. Even the tech for determining distance is old — compact film cameras used infrared beams to measure the distance from the subject (which is why they were always stymied when you shot through a window).
In truth, though, this will probably never make it into a real product. As a geek project (or geekject), though, it’s pretty awesome.