Video: With This Camera, Your Fingers Frame the Shot

Handy Cam

Yoshimasa Furuyama frames a picture using his prototype Ubi-Cam.DigInfo TV

Sometimes when framing a photo, you might draw a little box with your fingers, visualizing the field of view before looking through the viewfinder. Now there's a device that turns your little hand-rectangle into an actual camera. You frame the shot with your fingers, and you determine the view by moving your hands closer to or further from your face.

The Ubi-Camera comes with an infrared range finder that uses your face to determine the angle of the photo. When your face is close to the camera, you get a wide-angle shot; move them away, and the camera zooms in for a close-up of your subject. Press a button with your thumb to take the picture.

The lens has a fixed focal length, so you would have to zoom in or out on a computer. Unfortunately it's not quite as advanced as the Lytro light-field camera, but still pretty neat for a gadget that fits over your index finger.

With this type of camera, you wouldn't need a viewfinder or a display screen at all — what you see through your fingers is a pretty close approximation of what you'll see in the photograph. The prototype, developed at the Institute for Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan, is connected via wires to a computer, but its developers want to build a free-standing model you could use outside. From there, it's not a far leap to imagine this as an even smaller wireless device. Maybe you could wear it like a ring, and go around drawing little hand-boxes over everything you want to photograph.

DigInfo explains in more detail below.