Camera without lens: Engineer develops device that generates “photos” from location descriptions

Danish engineer Bjørn Karmann has developed a device called Paragraphica. It resembles a film camera but without a lens or sensor. Instead, the device generates realistic images using artificial intelligence.

Paragraphica creates images based on location data, weather conditions, time of day, and surrounding areas. It gathers this information online from open sources and converts it into a short text displayed on the screen. Then, the Stable Diffusion neural network generates an image based on this description.

“The resulting ‘photo’ is not just a snapshot but a complex and detailed representation of the place you are in and perhaps how an AI model perceives this space,” explains Karmann.

The camera’s body was 3D-printed by the engineer, and inside it, he placed a single-board computer Raspberry Pi 4. The top panel is equipped with three dials that allow adjusting the data search radius and other image parameters. Instead of a lens, the device has a decorative structure resembling an antenna. Its shape is inspired by the finger-like whiskers of a star-nosed mole, a mammal that perceives the surrounding world through these receptors.

Karmann has also created a virtual counterpart of the camera. It can be tested on the project’s website, but due to high traffic, the option may be unavailable.

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