Though digital technology offers home movie-makers the advantages of increased quality and convenience compared to analog film, some of the “magic” has arguably been lost in the switch – few would liken double-clicking an icon to dusting off a reel of film, after all. Bioscope, by designers Jon Stam and Simon de Bakker, is a digital movie player that invokes the nostalgia of film, while simultaneously compelling the user to take an active role in their own viewing experience.

Housed within a 3D-printed plastic case, Bioscope derives its moniker from an early projector of the same name, and is reminiscent of the LomoKinoScope in both form and function. The unit measures 15.5 x 16.5 x 4 cm (6 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches), and features a micro LCD display which serves as a viewfinder. A modified Raspberry Pi is also utilized.

To watch a movie on Bioscope, the user is required to insert a previously made digital movie file via USB stick, then place an eye against the viewfinder. The movie is played by rotating the hand-crank, forward or backward at whatever rate is desired – with playback speed and direction corresponding to these movements.

Stam and de Bakker insist their creation goes beyond mere gimmick. By demanding the viewer’s full attention, and offering intuitive control over the viewing of digital movies, the designers argue that Bioscope enables each user to take part in creating their own unique movie-watching experience.

Bioscope was originally developed for Rotterdam’s V2 Institute For The Unstable Media event but is now available for purchase, price on request.

The video below explains the project in further detail.

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