Long before Google Glass ... there was the Camera Lucida.
The camera lucida.
It’s a prism on a stick! For making realistic drawings!
It used to be everywhere. A portable version hasn’t been manufactured in generations.
And we’re bringing it back. Really inexpensively. For artists and art students everywhere.
We have designed the NeoLucida: the first portable authentic camera lucida to be manufactured in nearly a century—and the lowest-cost commercial camera lucida ever designed.
The NeoLucida is a drawing aid that allows you to trace what you see. By the mid-1800s, camera lucidas were everywhere. Indeed, the device is so effective in assisting accurate life-drawing that, according to the controversial Hockney-Falco hypothesis, it's now believed that many of the most admired drawings of the 19th Century, such as the Neoclassical portraits of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, could only have been made with a camera lucida. This becomes astonishingly clear if you try one—an experience we hope to share with as many people as possible by launching the NeoLucida.
But the NeoLucida is not just a product. It’s a provocation. In manufacturing a camera lucida for the 21st century, our aim is to stimulate interest in media archaeology—the tightly interconnected history of visual culture and imaging technologies. We want to make this remarkable device widely available to students, artists, architects, and anyone who loves to draw from life. Released from obscurity, NeoLucida entreats a generation of artists to ask: "What if you could trace what you see?" And: "How might artists in the 19th century have seen the world?" And: "How might tracing from life fit into contemporary art education?" And: "What is the historical relationship between art and technology?"
Our design is lightweight (7oz., or 199g), sturdy, compact enough to fit in a handbag, highly adjustable, totally non-electronic, and effective in all lighting conditions. The NeoLucida will also be released with a liberal open-source hardware license, encouraging the world to modify and make their own NeoLucida devices and experiment with new optical applications.
If you enjoy drawing from life, or if you're interested in experiencing for yourself how the Old Masters could possibly have created such accurate, lifelike drawings—then the NeoLucida is for you.
Creative Applications: Feature by Filip Visnjic
Colossal: Article by Christopher Jobson
BoingBoing: Article by Cory Doctorow
WIRED GadgetLab: Feature by Christina Bonnington
WIRED UK: Feature by Ian Steadman
Mashable: Article by Anita Li
WIRED Beyond the Beyond: Post by Bruce Sterling
ANIMAL: Article by Kyle Petreycik
The Creators Project: Article by Kevin Holmes
FastCompany Co.Design: Feature by Margaret Rhodes
Art in America: Article by John Anderson
HLN Television: Article by Colette Bennett
Wired Japan: Article by Tomoko Mukai (In Japanese)
TechBeat: Article by Annie
SinEmbargo Mexico: Article (in Spanish)
Original Kickstarter Video:
Live demo, Eyeo Festival 2013:
NeoLucida Setup Guide: