Paragraphica camera takes pictures without lens

As we enter the weird world of AI-generated imagery, it was only a matter of time before the physical world started seeping into the virtual. Created by Bjoern Karmann, the Paragraphica is a camera and web app that takes in physical information – the weather, the position of the sun, the physical position – and essentially “estimates” what the scene would look like in reality. The results are, should we say, interesting.

“The viewfinder displays a real-time description of your current location, and by pressing the trigger, the camera will create a scintigraphic representation of the description,” wrote Karmann.

As you can see, the Paragraphica camera has no lens and instead uses recreates the image based on what the model knows about its environment. This is obviously an art project – you’re not going to run around with one of these things during your next visit to Fiji – but darn it if this isn’t a wildly cool idea.

“As AI models are increasingly becoming conscious, it will be hard to imagine how they might see our physical world. The camera offers a way of experiencing the world around us, one that is not limited to visual perception alone. Through location data and AI image synthesis, “Paragraphica” provides deeper insight into the essence of a moment through the perspective of other intelligences,” wrote Bjoern.

Paragraphica camera App

As we move forward into the brave new world of AI, projects like this one are going to make a lot of sense. Because generative AI can easily hallucinate all kinds of things, from elves in a fantasy world to a street scene in Amsterdam, you can expect far more of this kind of thing in the future. After all, send a physical human to take a picture when you can create an amalgam of previously shot photos that essentially captures the idea of a certain location.

You can try the app here if you want to take a picture of your current browser location.

Be sure to watch the video version of this article here:

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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