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Project #6 Experimental Camera

Zoom Beauty Camera

Move your face position infront of the camera

This is a satirical camera that detects your bad angles i.e. when getting too close to camera, or when the face is partially out of the camera's frame. It alerts you visually by turning green with a stop sign. The image goes back to normal when you get back to an ‘acceptable’ position. It calls you to maintain your distance to maintain your image. This is a commentary on a virtually saturated world where our image is subject to more policing by ourselves and the technology. It alerts us to adhere to ‘beauty ideas’ in our daily and domestic interactions with one another through the camera. Since the start of the pandemic, we have increased our usage of video calling as a replacement for physically existing with one another. And while we were used to communicating naturally through our face and body, we are now forced to fit within a rectangle, a frame that enables control, elimination, and intrusion.

Design Process

I used the clm tracker tool for face detection by Audun Mathias Øygard; this tool provided me with precise tracking of facial features via Constrained Local Models, where I was able to specify detected points on the face contour and work on controlling my camera based on their movement within the frame.

// create a new clmtrackr object

// initialize the object

// start tracking the video element

Then added let positions = tracker.getCurrentPosition(); which updates the tracker with current positions

Then made the connecting vectors which show in the image below disappear, in addition to the points and numbers indicating positions.

To refine the detection, I selected 5 points for positions and added those positions in the array for each. I used if statement and arrays with relational and logical operators. On the other hand specified points in the canvas in case the face detector point crosses, it triggers the camera to flash.

My Experimental Camera's Pseudo Code

1. Face facing the camera within frame

2. then no reaction from the camera

3. if face gets closer from the camera

4.1 in angle one: where eyes are so close; therefore head gets out of frame, or

5. in angle two: where face gets out of the frame to the left or right

6. then the screen flashes an alerting sentence and

7. screen lights up in green

8. When face is back in frame, screen stops being green and message disappears


While designing an unconventional camera, I thought a lot about the ways in which we can capture ourselves: enhance, hide, and distort our reality. While cameras used to capture the truth, they are now a tool used to control reality. Glissant says in his assertion on Opactiy: "This same opacity is also the force that drives every community: the thing that would bring us together forever anel make us permanently distinctive. Widespread consent to specifie opacities is the most straightforward equivalent of nonbarbarism. We clamor for the right to opacity for everyone."

This gets us to reflect on the fact that we all have the right to become visible in our own ways. Even if it's uniform, it's still a right. And the way we are living in the virtual world through our cameras which are giving us visbitliy, we can control how we are seen and at least who we become in this virtual world.

Other Camera Concepts To Develop

1- Censorship: A camera that addresses the ways in which a woman's body is censored on social apps by putting limitations on what a woman should not be showing of her body. A camera that directly pixelates her breasts as a commentary on how Instagram censors any image showing nipples

2- Lighting creates an ambiance that can impact and affect our mood. It can change the way we feel about a space. This camera would recreate the lighting effects of a party so as to change people’s environment while they are stuck in the same place due to quarantine. It is an invitation to create a new ambiance in the same environment.

3- How can camera filters change the way we perceive ourselves and others? This camera detects the time of day and reveals an icon depending on the hour. The icon would be coffee mug for the morning, or fried brain in the afternoon as a way for people to understand the time of day the subject is in.

4- A camera that shows the unseens spirits that fill our space.