Descriptive Camera

Matt Richardson has put together a very interesting concept device. Dubbed the Descriptive Camera, it snaps a photo, but instead of popping out an image, it prints a description of the scene instead.

Alas, this isn’t done using some sort of mysterious, high-tech AI. Rather, it’s enabled through cheap human labor. The image is snapped from a webcamera, and then sent to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, where someone on the internet transcribes it, the description is sent back, and then automatically fed through a printer. The process costs $1.25 per shot, and takes 3-6 minutes to achieve.


The use of a human element in this conceptual camera adds a very interesting twist on the results. You would never get the same result twice, and the Turk’s viewpoint would definitely influence the output. What one person views as ugly another might find “rustic” or “charming.”

On a similar, but slightly more snarky note, there’s Text-Only Instagram, a Twitter account that describes and gently mocks the stereotypical Instagram shots we’ve all seen a million times.