The 5 Most Legitimately Insane Cameras Ever Invented
July 21, 2014
1. The Dentapod Camera That You Hold Steady By Biting It
Someone on Reddit found this gem from an old edition of Popular Science magazine dating back to 1954.
Basically, if you’re tired of having to use artificial means like a tripod to keep your camera steady, like some kind of savage, then this nifty metal plate would allow you to do so using your teeth.
This appears to have never caught on.
2. The Camera That You Throw
Something a bit more modern now – in 2013, inventor Steve Hollinger was granted a US patent for Squito, the throwable panoramic camera ball.
You throw the ball, and it uses positional sensors and embedded cameras to take a series of images of its flight trajectory. These can then be processed into a panorama, assuming you didn’t accidentally roll the camera into the middle of a busy road or a nearby ravine (to be fair, you shouldn’t have been using it there anyway).
Honestly, it’s genuinely really cool. Insane, yes, but really cool. Here’s a video of it in action:
3. The 50-pound Panoramic Camera That You Fly Like a Kite
Image: Photograph of San Francisco in ruins from Lawrence Captive Airship, 2000
feet above San Francisco Bay overlooking water front. Sunset over
Golden [Gat]e. Photographic print, gelatin silver, 18 x 48 in. Via Wikimedia Commons
After several attempts at aerial photography in the late 1800s, inventor George Lawrence hit on the idea of the ‘Captive Airship’ in 1901. Consisting of 17 kites strung together with piano wire, this monstrosity was capable of suspending a 50-pound panoramic camera in the air.
Lawrence would then take photos by sending an electric current from a battery up to the camera. Reportedly the camera never killed anybody by falling on them, and actually took some pretty amazing photos, which you can check out on Chicago Magazine. For the curious, here’s a diagram:
4. The Camera That’s Also a Revolver
Back in 1938 New York, a camera that was also a gun was deemed a legitimate thing that people might want to use. So someone invented one – this Colt 38 carrying a small camera that automatically takes a photo when you pull the trigger.
Embedded into the bottom left of the image are six sample shots taken with the camera. The corpses of those who wronged its inventor are presumably just out of shot…
5. The Pigeon Camera
Image: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R01996, Brieftaube mit Fotokamera cropped via Wikimedia Commons.
Turns out pigeon photography has a long and illustrious history, enough to merit its own Wikipedia article.
Apothecary-owner Julius Nebronner came up with the idea of a specially designed pigeon camera after one of his pigeons disappeared for four weeks and he was curious to know where it had gotten to. The result was a fascinating array of leather and aluminium that could take a time-delayed photograph via a pneumatic system.
Though Nebronner tried to market a few designs, for some reason Pigeon Cameras never took off (no pun intended) as a commercial prospect. Still, if Nikon or Canon ever feel they’re running low on ideas it could be worth looking into…
Seen any good ones we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter: @AP_Magazine