With smartphones sporting built-in cameras, its hard to imagine a photo opportunity arising for which we'd be unprepared. But for those looking to capture moments in a form that straddles the line between stills and video comes Otto, a retro-looking digital camera that instantly captures GIFs and sends them to your phone, perhaps breathing new life into the well-worn concept of the selfie.

Otto is powered by popular computer module Raspberry Pi and features a 5-megapixel Omnivision 0.25-inch backside illuminated CMOS sensor. Equipped with a f/2-35 mm optical lens, Otto is capable of capturing stills up to 2,592 x 1,944 pixels and video up to 1080p at 30 fps, as well as slow motion video at 90 fps.

With a regular shutter button, optical viewfinder and a 96 x 96 pixel top-mounted OLED display, Otto is a perfectly capable digital camera. What sets it apart from your typical point and shooter, however, is a crank that pops up from the top enabling users to instantly capture GIFs and share them with devices over Wi-Fi.

"GIF frames are captured with each click of the crank's rotation," Dave Rauchwerk, one of Otto's co-creators tells Gizmag. "When you rewind the crank, it completes the GIF. Once the GIF is complete, it is synched with your phone."

While the camera itself takes care of the shooting, it is the smartphone app that enables control of Otto's functions. This can involve sharing images over social networks, adjusting settings, such as frame rate and timer, or selecting from a range of built-in shooting modes. If no connection to the app is available, Otto will save images to its 4 GB of internal flash memory and automatically sync with the app once a connection is established.

If creating time-lapses of the sunset gets tiresome, the functionality of Otto can be extended by connecting hardware through the Micro USB port or modifying it using the software development kit (SDK). This could include adding a microphone that activates the shutter when you clap or reconfiguring Otto to change color saturation according to the volume captured at each frame.

At present, the smartphone app is available for iPhone only, but the company tells us there is a full-featured mobile web application that can be accessed from any device with a browser. The team is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to take Otto to market, where a pledge of US$199 will put you in line for one of the GIF-capturing cameras with shipping slated for December 2014 if all goes well.

The team's pitch video can be viewed below.

Source: Next Thing

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