There’s one in every family or group of friends: A photographer who — willing or not — spends most of their time behind the lens, and ends up conspicuously absent from nearly every photo. It’s inevitable. Well, not anymore. The Duo, a working concept camera, splits in half to capture both photographer and photographee at the exact same instant.
The Duo’s designer describes it as a “binary” camera. “There is usually one person has to be excluded from photos taken in social events,” says Chin-Wei Liao, an Innovation Design Engineering student at the Royal College of Art in London. “[Duo] invites people to engage the photo-taking process. By being both photographer and subject at the same time, it enables people to have fun documenting and being documented.”
It’d be easy to write this off as just another student concept, but Chin-Wei prototyped and built several working models, which is pretty amazing. The gadget itself is fairly simple: It’s two individual point-and-shoot cameras, which snap together and pull apart thanks to two intense magnets. The cameras both shoot images when one of the buttons is held down — so both participants have to stay engaged to get a good shot. The only other control on the body is a switch that turns off the dual-shot function, which means you can use Duo as a normal camera too.
Though it’s totally different in terms of functionality, Duo builds on a similar idea as The Goodnight Lamp, the Wi-Fi enabled lamp that connects two users’ nightlights through the cloud, making it possible to communicate in an ambient way through an interface-less product. It’s fascinating to see what types of use cases are emerging as the objects around us — from lamps to cameras — can communicate with each other.