Kewl Design Alert: Descriptive Camera Prints Captions Not Images

Imagine a polaroid that prints captions instead of images, and you have the Descriptive Camera art project.

The camera is a project by Matt Richardson who writes on the project site:
As we amass an incredible amount of photos, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage our collections. Imagine if descriptive metadata about each photo could be appended to the image on the fly—information about who is in each photo, what they're doing, and their environment could become incredibly useful in being able to search, filter, and cross-reference our photo collections. Of course, we don't yet have the technology that makes this a practical proposition, but the Descriptive Camera explores these possibilities.
I was curious about how it worked, since anyone who has ever taken a digital photo knows that the description does not magically appear. Turns out, it relies on the Interwebs and human power. When a user takes a picture with the Descriptive Camera, the image is transmitted online to awaiting human transcriptors who review the image and write the caption. Within a few minutes, the caption is sent back to the camera and printed out on thermal paper featuring a Polaroid-style border.

It's a clever idea especially when you think that the thermal paper fades. (If you've ever kept an old fax you'll remember that they fade to yellow and sometimes even completely back to white, with age.) So not only is this project providing metadata of digital images, it's providing fleeting metadata of digital images. Which makes the whole concept seem to lack any permanence whatsoever. They don't mention that in detail on the site, but I think that might be the most compelling part of the experiment in my eyes.

Click to enlarge

(Source: Neatorama)