Guest Post: Designing the Next Instant Camera

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Click, snap, whir. The  once-familiar mechanical sound of instant cameras no longer echoes at parties, long ago replaced by the din of digital shutters. But the folks behind Prynt hope to change all that, and bring instant photography back to the mainstream. Prynt is a case for your phone that turns it into an instant camera. Just load it up with inkless instant film, take aim, and print those shots in a snap.

Recently, the team at Prynt interviewed their own lead industrial designer, Robin Barata, for a project update. It was a great conversation, so we've decided to share that interview right here.

Can you take us through the process, from concept to production, of designing the Prynt Case?

I started with lots and lots of sketching, creating several really different ideas for how Prynt could look. This stage was especially fun because I didn’t have to worry about any real world constraints, just design!

Once we got to something we agreed on as a team, I started working on CAD files (3D versions) so we could start building the actual product. This was a fascinating process, moving from the sketches to 3D models, and then using those to build the first physical prototypes. I worked very hard, creating 12 different versions, until we found one that not only felt good in your hands, was good looking, and could be mass-produced, but would also encompass the necessary hardware. While we've done a lot of work refining that design, it was the basis for the product our backers will receive this fall.

What was your biggest design challenge and how did you overcome it?

Trying to fit different shapes and sizes of phones in one case is something that had not been done before. I did a lot of research, both online and in consumer markets worldwide and found nothing. Eventually, I was inspired by a simple, practical solution — the hardware didn’t have to change, just the part that connects to your phone. For the user, this is the best solution, so that, for example, if someone buys it, and then gets a new phone, she can still use the same case. I’m really proud of helping make this a reality.

Do you have any specific routines when you work?

Besides the fact that I drink a lot of coffee? I’m very passionate, working until 4 AM., sometimes later, once I get on a roll with a project. When I’m inspired, which I have been with Prynt, I cannot stop until everything is perfect.

What’s the latest news on the design?

We’ve enhanced the experience a lot in terms of the phone adapter. Funnily enough, we went back to another “old” technology, the cassette tape, adding a spring-driven button to open/close the the case. This makes it easier and faster and holds the phone very securely. Here’s a look at how that works:

Prynt is expected to begin delivery later this year. For more information, head to https://www.pryntcases.com/.

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