[From April Issue 2010]
Sony Corporation recently released the Party-shot Automatic Photographer (IPT-DS1), docking station. When used with specific Sony digital cameras, this device automatically takes photos by searching for people’s faces, detecting smiles and framing groups by shifting camera angles.
This accessory was developed to free people from having to stop talking or enjoying the company of friends in order to take photos. “I myself often forgot about taking photos when I was immersed in a conversation while having a meal with my friends. I thought I would not forget if there was a camera that would automatically take photos for me,” says YAMASHITA Masanobu.
YOSHIZUMI Shingo, who was the first to come up with the idea for the Party-shot, explains the troubles they had to overcome in developing the product: “When we started our study, digital cameras didn’t have the face-recognition function. We tried to cope with that by programming the camera to take photos when it detected a large amount of skin-color. The result was that it took photos of nearby cardboard boxes. Also, it could not take good pictures in dark places.” Since then, because the performance of digital cameras has improved, it is now possible to detect people’s faces and take good, low-light pictures too.
“It was also important not to break the good atmosphere of friends and families getting together. So, we continued to study how we could make the camera’s movement less like that of a surveillance camera and more like the adorable shakes and nods of a person’s head,” says Yoshizumi. “We also thought about how the joy of taking photos manually was also important. So, we made the attachment and removal of the camera easy,” says KURODA Keiichi.
Nikon offers another innovation by including a small projector in its COOLPIX S1000pj digital camera. In darkened rooms, users can project on the walls or the ceiling their recently taken photos. This means that you no longer have to make prints or prepare the TV to enjoy photos or videos with your friends and families.
“Many people already have digital cameras, so we thought of expanding their uses and the pleasures they get from them. We presented our ideas and developed a small projector. We took pains in making the projector small, to prevent it from overheating and to keep its power consumption low. The problems were solved with original Nikon technology and we worked out a design enabling its small size. It was only a year and a half ago that we were able to make it the size of a regular camera,” says SUZUKI Nobuyoshi.
Although Sony’s Party-shot is a camera docking accessory, and Nikon’s COOLPIX S1000pj is an all-in-one camera-projector, there is a similarity between them – the desire to develop and “make photos a more enjoyable experience with friends.”
Text: SAZAKI Ryo