Instagif NextStep
The Instagif NextStep in actionAbhishek Singh

There have been plenty of revival projects for Polaroid-style cameras, but very few willing to put a unique twist on the snap-and-waft instant photos that made the brand famous. Enter the Instagif NextStep - a retooled Polaroid camera that 'prints' animated GIFs.

The Instagif is the invention of Abhishek Singh, a DIY tech tinkerer who previously recreated the iconic opening level of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros for Microsoft's augmented reality headset, HoloLens. Seeking a new "fun challenge", Singh, inspired by the Polaroid OneStep camera range, wanted to see if it was possible to "hold a moving photo".

The resulting creation may look like an ordinary Polaroid on the surface, but hidden within lies a small LCD panel which plays GIFs recorded by the main camera unit.

To keep the DIY device as authentic as possible, the Instagif ejects the panel out of the front once a short video has been captured - it even has a fade-in delay to mimic Polaroid photos of old.

Singh explained in an Imgur post that the Instagif took around four weeks to build from scratch using 3D printing and homebrew components. The camera and screen are both powered by Raspberry Pi microcomputers and separate battery packs, but in a nifty twist the GIF panel's 400 mAh pack is topped up by the camera's larger main battery.

For those looking to build their own Instagif, Singh has posted the code to Github while the aforementioned blog post documents the assembling process step-by-step. You can also see the Instagif working in all its retro-styled glory in the video below.