ראשי English ZoomZoom will Teach your Child to Take Pictures

ZoomZoom will Teach your Child to Take Pictures

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Despite many developments in camera technology in recent years, very little emphasis was given by manufacturers to kids as potential users. Even when manufacturers rarely do choose to market kids cameras they are typically fully automatic point and shoot devices. A young industrial designer with a passion for photography decided to try and change that by creating a model of a camera which will help children take pictures in a fun and educational way.

Karen Harel is an Israeli industrial design student. For her graduation project under the guide of designer offer canfi, she decided to create a model of a camera designed specifically for children. The basis for the project was to create a camera that will enable young children to take their first steps in the world of photography in a way radically different than what most manufacturers came up with so far.

Harel starting point was the realization that children are capable of learning complex tasks as long as they are being thought the right way. Harel decided she will create a camera that will make learning easy and fun for children but still give them the basic tools important for taking good pictures.

In order to learn more about the project the MegaPixel team recently conducted a short interview with Harel:

Q: Where did the idea for the project came from?

A: I love photography and decided that this is something I would like to work on for my final project. During my parliamentary research I tested different types of cameras for children and realized that this area is hugely underdeveloped. Most kids aged 5 and above can operate a computer, cell phone or camera much better than most of us think, however existing cameras for children are extremely simple point and shoot devices with nothing more to do than a simple press of a bottom which teaches the children nothing about actually taking pictures.

The ZoomZoom Camera

Zom Zom camera 1

Q: What ages did you aim for in your project?

A: My project is aimed at kids aged 5-8. The reason for this is that at this age learning is extremely quick and by talking to parents for children at these ages I came to realize that they wish their children will acquire new skills at that age and are willing to do what they can to help them.

Q: What makes the camera that you have developed special compared to other cameras already on the market aimed at children?

A: In terms of design it is much more suitable for kids with its vibrant colors. It also includes a special wheel which the kids can use to switch between different functions of the camera (instead of bottoms in regular cameras). Besides the physical structure you have "ZoomZoom" which is a (software manifestation) of a living creature which resides inside the camera and helps the child to use its different functions. For example if the camera fall down "ZoomZoom" will get a bandage on his face, if the camera's battery runs down "ZoomZoom" will fall asleep telling the child that it's time to charge the battery and let "ZoomZoom" go to bed.

Round rear display

Zom Zom camera 2

Q: What are the special needs kids have in terms of camera use you identified during your project?

A: The main need kids have is the ability to feel that they could "do it on their own" – this is why, using some guidance, I wanted to give them the feeling that they are not different than grown ups when using a camera. Using animation which leads them while using the camera, they can learn what is the right lighting for taking a picture and how to create the best composition.

Q: Which materials did you use for the construction of the prototype camera?

A: The body is made of ABS – a though plastic material which is shock absorbent and the grip is made of ABS and a second type of plastic which gives a softer more flexible feeling, but is still strong. Other than that the camera is very robust and should withstand fall and changing weather conditions.

Photography can be fun

Zom Zom camera 3

Q: What did you actually show during the unveiling of your final project a few weeks ago?

A: I presented a model of the "ZoomZoom" camera printed using 3D printing technology (STL). Although it was not a working model, I did display a video showing the user experience including functions such as taking a picture, capturing a video, using help, browsing images, recycling images as well as the "ZoomZoom" sleep function (mentioned earlier) and "love gauge" which is a measurement of how much attention the child gives the camera.

Q: What next for "ZoomZoom"?

A: I would like to see if camera manufacturers have any interest in the concept – from what I saw both parents and kids are very enthusiastic about the idea but so far camera manufacturers have yet to enter this niche.

Karen Harel (karen_harel AT yahoo.com).

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