Recently I was discussing with a reader whether she could use her IPhone to photograph comet ISON. This was back in the glory days when comet ISON still had promise. Well those days appear to be gone, but tonight my wife brought to my attention some very interesting cell phone camera accessories. So if there were a very bright comet one might just be able to take cool pictures of it with your cellphone. I need to make two important points: 1. I have not tried any of these gadgets out. So this is not a product endorsement. But they are pretty cheap so I may try one or two of them. 2. You almost always get what you pay for; so they are probably crap. But here goes.
First we have changeable lens for your IPhone or Android. You can get a 2 x telephoto lens, a macrolens, a polarizer, and a wide angle fisheye lens – all for around $20 a piece. Then there is a turret that mounts to your phone; so that with a simple rotation you can select between lenses. Weep your eyes out Leica owners. Back in the dinosaur ages this was a coveted M series accessory! There is also a film copier to digitize slide film onto your camera. How many people want to do that? At $54 it’s a bit pricey.
Want to turn you smartphone into a microscope for about $25 – no problem. How about a smartphone telescope? This too is no problem. And for those of you who already have microscopes or telescopes finding an cell phone adapter is also not a problem.
Mostly we are talking gimmicks, toys, and science fair projects here. But, the possibilities are definitely endless. I have a colleague who launched a weather balloon armed with a cellphone. It took pictures and beamed back its gps location. Also, and luckily, it didn’t hit anyone on the way down. Did I mention that the parachute failed to deploy?
I read today that Amazon is planning on delivering packages by drones to your doorstep in about five years. So of course, David is thinking about two of his favorite blog themes: robotic eyes and the technological singularity. Technical innovation is driven by cost and the availability of such “toys” for twenty dollars or so opens up a very exciting realm – not to mention a potentially very dangerous one. Stay tuned.