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fusion | tactile camera

fusion | tactile camera

Louis Berger
August 24, 2016
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Fusion is a compact camera system, built to enable as many people as possible to capture and relive memories. The camera and its user interaction were designed to be as unobtrusive and simple as possible, allowing the user to focus on the moment without getting distracted by the product. Fusion features a seamless smart device ecosystem integration, meant to make it easier for smartphone photographers to switch from their phones to the new device. It also offers a new way for visually impaired people to experience and interact with cameras.

Smartphones have become the most frequently used cameras, offering quick access and the features people love. In a connected world, in which the ability to share has become more relevant than the actual process of capturing an image, conventional cameras tend to be unappealing.

Conventional cameras stopped being spontaneous and fun. Most of them have lost their souls. Complicated interfaces inhibit users from fully enjoying their product right from the beginning. Furthermore, cameras are one of only few product categories, remaining largely isolated from their connected environment.

The questions that started the project were: “What does a truly modern camera look like and how does it work?", "For whom is it meant to be?”, “What are potential customers expectations?”, “What are the USP’s for a conventional camera today?”

The first target group are smartphone photographers who are now searching for an easy to use but professional camera delivering high-quality images, as well as a seamless smart device ecosystem integration. The second group are visually impaired people. Often they can't benefit from the heavily visually driven technological development.

Since the shape of cameras isn’t anymore defined by the film, the most essential form defining factors are the lens, sensor, grip and screen. After determining the dimensions of each of these factors, several foam and cardboard models were created to get a better feel for the camera’s proportions and its handling.
The next step consisted in searching for an appropriate screen size that would be big enough to display all relevant information but would still fit the compact design. The built-in screen can be pivoted and rotated but features no touch input capacities.

Fusion's main interface is a 26mm touch and pressure sensitive button, inspired by mechanical mode dials. It can be used to navigate through menus, set personal presets, to capture your photos and videos, etc. Fusion's GUI is designed to make it easier for smartphone photographers to adapt to the new product. More in-depth functions can be added, corresponding to the photographer's skills.

To house the braille-matrix display, more space in the camera body was necessary. Making the body thicker would result in an “unbalanced”, clunky device. Incorporating the image-sensor right in the lens offered the desired space. In addition, a sealed lens has several advantages. It allows faster lens changing, it protects the sensor at all times and adds more convenience concerning hardware upgrades.

To find the right material for the camera, I started collecting products whose textures allow you feel a certain confidence while handling them. Fusion’s texture should be similar to the Lamy CP1, which is comfortable to hold and not prone to getting scratched easily.

After rendering several scenes with different settings, I noticed that my old engine couldn't meet my demands anymore, so I decided to work in KeyShot for the first time. Working with the program made my visualization process much more convenient, so I could focus better on more important aspects of the project.
After publishing fusion on Behance, I was surprised by the very positive feedback of the community. Fusion has recently been featured on Behance’s product design gallery.

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