Etch-A-Snap-Camera

The Etch A Sketch might just be one of the most challenging toys ever created. The toy was created in France in 1960 and uses an internal stylus to carve a path in the aluminum powder housed within. It takes the kind bomb-diffuser/brain surgeon-like skill to create anything resembling something, really. We can’t imagine anyone in our immediate-gratification modern world spending more than 30 seconds with the damned thing. Now, Martin Fitzpatrick has jiggered a Pocket Etch a Sketch (because a full-sized one would just be embarrassing) to create the Etch a Snap camera that captures photos and draws them automatically. He took a Raspberry Pi Zero powered digital camera and upgraded it with stepper motors, a custom 3D-printed frame, and an ingenious gearset that replaces the Pocket Etch A Sketch’s knobs. The camera snaps basic shots at 240×144 pixels reduced to a black-and-white color palette so as not to overwhelm the Etch A Sketch’s limited abilities. Each image can take 15 minutes to one hour to process and draw, depending on complexity. You can go to Fitzpatrick’s site to build your own, which take some doing, but you’ve got the time now that you don’t have to learn to actually use an Etch A Sketch with your own fingers.

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