For our last office party, we made a DIY GIF machine to capture some group selfies. Essentially a semi-circular rig with 17 webcams attached to it, the machine is connected both to a laptop and a monitor.
Someone wanting to take a selfie simply presses a large button, specially 3D printed in our office. This triggers our computer-run script to initialize. One by one, each of the cameras on the rig is turned on; once the first camera captures an image, it turns off, thereby triggering its neighbour to turn on. At the end of this 8-second process, the GIF shows up on the monitor.
One webcam in the center of the arc-shaped rig doesn’t take a photo but shows its live capture on the monitor so you can check yourself out before clicking on the start button.
We installed Linux software to create our machine, since it was the only operating system that could capture image after image at such speed. The code that we wrote for the machine ensured that GIFs were immediately uploaded onto our site, viewable in real time.
We 3D printed the joints that connected the webcams to the rig, which we custom made out of wood and then painted black. We also spruced the machine up by adding a string of LED lights, which changed colours every few seconds.