Sep. 14, 2012 at 5:59 PM ET
A new, totally real device takes your phone-camera shots and turns them instantly into Polaroid-style prints, essentially by taking a picture of them. It sounds ridiculous, but it has already raised hundreds of thousands on Kickstarter.
The Impossible Project is a Dutch company that has been working on resurrecting Polaroid film after buying some of the company's manufacturing assets several years ago. It offers a variety of films and accessories, but the folks at the company never intended to create this particular device.
In the process of designing a standalone Impossible Project camera, they found that they were often taking pictures on their iPhones and looking for a way to transfer their shots to film. Their attempts to make this happen worked so well that they decided to market the prototype as a potential product on Kickstarter.
Essentially, you load a photo into an iPhone app released by the Impossible Project, and then you mount the phone mount onto the end of the collapsible Impossible Instant Lab, which resembles a bellows camera lying on its back. The app then takes control of the brightness and color, and exposes a frame of instant film loaded into the base. Out comes the print, and in a few minutes it should be fully developed — no shaking or waving required, of course.
It is, of course, absurd. If you want to share an iPhone picture, you can easily do so with a few taps. But the physicality and uniqueness of a Polaroid print are things that are just plain desirable to lots of people. You can't put iPhone pictures on your fridge, or pass them out at parties. This device, as backwards as it is, lets you do that.
The Instant Labs will cost $300 when they come out, but there are a few price points available for early backers. The super-cheap $149 and $189 support levels have sold out, but you can still pick one up for $229, or more if you feel like making a bigger investment.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.