60 second snapshot
The goal of this project was to facilitate a fun and easy experience for using a fisheye lens and smartphone as a mobile microscope.
Primary users were those with a smartphone, fisheye lens, and the desire to explore the world at a micro level.
This was an individual project.
Demo: Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
To demonstrate the wonder of magnification, I wanted to show a live application, where both the magnified and unmagnified object could be seen. I specifically chose this video clip due to its colorfulness and motion.
Interacting with the microscope feels precise and satisfying due to the kinesthetic feedback of the rubber bands stretching.
One of my first ideas on magnification was to lower my phone using a pulley, so I began sketching pulleys and how they might be housed.
My first pulley design relied heavily on human skill and tape. I did like the straightforward connection between using a pulley to raise and lower objects, but there were clear usability issues.
I got carried away with this prototype, using two pulleys and devising a new method to keep the string under tension. A conversation with my peers helped move me away from this needlessly complex design.
While working on the pulley prototypes, I was also sketching much simpler microscopes. With my first prototype, I wanted to try the simplest design possible which afforded an easy magnification interaction.
While this prototype was refreshingly simple, the size of observable objects was quite limited. Furthermore, the interaction of pulling the wedge out from under the phone wasn’t enjoyable.
For my second iteration, I increased the range of observable objects while introducing a simple push interaction. The resistance from the rubber bands pressing the wedge into the phone screen was unexpectedly satisfying.
Mobility is a key attribute of fish eye lenses, thus I felt the microscope should be easy to carry and assemble.
I examined many objects searching for interesting ways to showcase the magnification of a fish eye lens. The lack of context surrounding these images is what inspired me to display the magnified pixels on a laptop screen at the same time as the un-magnified pixels.