• Dan Phan - Digital Advisor

A Positive Spin on Product Photography

For online retailers, the more product details you give your consumers access to online, the better chances of converting to a sale. The majority of online products feature a few photos - front, back, side, and possibly a video. Creating video content can be time consuming and that's where a project from MIT Media Lab has set out to solve that problem. Spin is a photography turntable that syncs with an iPhone to capture images of objects over 360 degrees, then splices them together to easily create GIFs.

Tiffany Tseng, of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, created Spin primarily to help makers record the evolution of their projects.

“Documentation is critical for bringing visibility to learning and enabling people to share their projects with others, but it’s often seen as a burden,” she says. “Especially when it involves a report that needs to be written as part of an assignment.”

Spin consists of a motorized turntable connected to an iPhone. The iPhone app rotates the turntable, taking photos every few seconds and stringing them together to automatically make a GIF. Better yet, images can be saved, then added onto later to show the progress of the work over a longer span of time. Tseng hopes to make Spin accessible to makerspaces and hackerspaces, and is eager to see what kids will do with the device. She encourages users to upload their GIFs to her website and see what others have created.

Spin is not available for sale, but Tiffany Tseng has several that she loans out for two to four weeks at a time, and she says it’s possible to construct one for around $150 with the instructions she has posted. She says, “Ultimately, I hope this project will inspire other people to develop new tools for making documentation easier and more playful for this growing audience of young makers.”

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