A quick flick through most digital photo albums will reveal that there's usually one person missing from the majority of snapshots. Designer Chin-Wei Liao's recently crafted a concept that makes it possible for the photographer to get in the frame, too. The Duo breaks apart into two cameras to take a picture from different angles at the same time.

Liao developed the Duo as part a dual MA/MSc degree in Innovation Design Engineering from both the Royal College of Art and the Imperial College London. The entire concept centered around giving photographers a greater emotional connection to their subjects by including themselves in each shot.

At first glance, you might wonder why it would be necessary for the Duo to separate at all, rather than just have two individual cameras. With both shutters synchronized wirelessly though, users can share the camera with another person and each take photos at the exact same moment. This produces a composite image, with the two different pictures side-by-side.

The main idea is to include the photographer in their own pictures, but a pair of synchronized cameras could be useful for capturing dual perspectives of almost any event. Using a Duo, a person could, for example, simultaneously capture images of the band and the audience at a live concert. It's an intriguing idea, though a similar effect might also be achieved through an app that wirelessly syncs two phone cameras, or by remotely triggering multiple cameras.

Liao has built a working prototype from wood that requires a wired connection to a computer at the moment, but the designer told us he plans to develop the prototype further. He has already produced a non-functioning model of a sleeker version that would include individual lenses and view screens for each half of the Duo, as well as an option to desynchronize the two shutters.

Check out the video below to see how the prototype Duo camera can capture two scenes at once.

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