Here’s a new twist on an old concept: The instant camera. PrintSnap, a self-contained camera now in the planning stages by electrical engineer Michael Ciuffo, will use standard cash register receipt paper to print pictures on the spot in a mashup of a really long film roll and a Polaroid. The camera is a bit of a low-tech novelty, designed to let you enjoy taking pictures in volume while disconnected from the online world.
Instant photos are fun and were at one time super popular, but they aren’t exactly cheap. Shooting with new Impossible Project film costs about $3 per shot these days. But what if you could shoot casual instant snapshots on a physical medium for less than a penny per shot? That’s the idea behind the PrintSnap. It’s an instant camera that captures photos on standard receipt paper. The project is the brainchild of Michael Ciuffo, a Seattle-based electrical engineer who graduated from MIT in 2011. For the past three months he has been working at building a new camera that can print fun shots onto thermal paper — the same kind used by receipt printers. It’s a special paper that has a chemical coating that changes color when exposed to heat, and it’s super cheap: Ciuffo estimates that each shot will cost just $0.003.