I have three very good reasons to write this post. One is that the camera lucida is just a kick-ass gadget, the kind of thing that all you creative iOwning folks out there will presumably love. Second, the Kickstarter video which accompanies it is both interesting and educational. And third, I have an idea for a version that will use your iPad and iPhone.
The camera lucida is an old piece of technology. It’s a drawing aid for artists which uses a prism to let you look at your paper and your subject simultaneously. To your eye, it appears as if the subject before you is projected onto your sheet of paper, and all you have to do is trace the image you see.
The device makes it easy to produce accurate drawing of anything, making you look awesome. You’ll even be able to draw hands!
The thing is, nobody makes them anymore. Until now. The NeoLucida is a new Kickstarter project by university art professors Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin. They are confirmed fans of the gadget, and decided they wanted to make one cheap enough that their students could afford to use them. So instead of spending $300 on eBay for an antique example, you can grab a brand new one for just $30.
Or rather, you could. The first and second runs have already sold out. Which brings me to my idea…
What about an app that beams the image from your iPhone to the iPad, and lets you draw over that image in a layer on top of the projected video stream? Sure, you could just draw over a still photo, but that’s just lame – you might as well just stick with the photo. Maybe there’s an app out there already that I didn’t find. If not, then maybe somebody should make it? Not that Garcia and Levin’s students will be able to afford it. If $300 is too much for an everyday tool (as they suggest in the video) then surely none of the students will own either and iPhone or an iPad, let alone something like a Mac, all of which are tools and all of which cost more than just $300.