Teaching kids engineering through photography

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How would one teach kids engineering in a fun way where the end result is a fully-functioning camera? If you are Columbia University professor Shree Nayar, you develop the Bigshot – a camera that needs to be assembled from kit parts before it can work.

But while assembly might seem like a laborious task for something so small, it touches on one important aspect: education.

Nayar’s kit camera aims to tech children two fun aspects of technology: how to build things through engineering, and how a fully-functioning camera works.

The project comes with all the part necessary, complete with a little screwdriver, and according to him it can take between 30 minutes to an hour to put together.

As part of the assembly, the camera comes with a polyoptic wheel, which will allow you to take regular, 3D and wide-angle pictures.

“Bigshot’s polyoptic wheel includes several optical modules that allow you to explore different creative dimensions as a photographer. The optical modules on the wheel work with the primary lens on Bigshot’s printed circuit board (PCB) to capture three types of photos,” the website explains.

Nayar managed to partly fund the project through a Google research award and an ONR Instrumentation Grant, and he believes that a camera designed for education must have three features.

The most important part for him is that it has to be designed as a kit for assembly, secondly he feels that the kit should include many different science concepts, and lastly it has to allow builders to explore new creative dimensions.

“In a way, it’s a very modest piece of technology, but on the other hand it has a lofty mission. It could be a semester long, or it could be an afternoon. And if you just want to have fun, you don’t have to go through the lessons – you just build it,” he told New York’s Daily News.

The Bigshot holds 150 photos, cost around R900 and more info can be found here.

[Source, Image – Bigshot]

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