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New Disposable Digital Cameras with LCDs

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the cuecat dept.

Graphics 485

del_ctrl_alt writes "Pure Digital Technologies are set to introduce the world's first ever disposable digital camera [ed. note: see below], retailing in the USA for $19.99. Ritz, CVS, Disney World and Longs Drugs are all going to stock the 2-megapixel camera, which somewhat amazingly has a color preview screen and allows you to delete images before you take it to the store for processing (where you will receive a free picture CD along with your prints)." It's not the first disposable digital camera, which was hacked shortly afterwards, but these include a LCD display (they're made by the same company which made the first ones). Have fun!

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485 comments

Processing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014131)

Film processing is expected to retail at $280 per camera.

Re:Processing (1)

mangusman (778529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014251)

Gotta believe this market window for this is very short, as the price of 3 and 4-megapixel cameras will continue to drop considerably.

Heh, this should be short lived. (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014141)

How long before "disposable" becomes "free" with a simple hardware/software hack?

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014169)

Do you know how to count in negative numbers?

Heck, do you know how to click the links in the article? In fact, the very last word?

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014186)

Read it, unlike you it seems. No hack there, just hardware/software information.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (2, Insightful)

Ianoo (711633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014194)

Well, the article claims "no wires" but I wonder just how the shop gets the pictures off the camera? Perhaps some hidden memory card inside the camera waiting to be hacked or even a USB interface behind a plug? Certainly I think this thing could be hackable.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (5, Informative)

rost0031 (805973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014266)

It's an interface similar to the old Palm III cradles. It's hidden behind a removable plastic tab on the side. For my hack, I used a piece of a Centronics cable connector attached to a USB cable. Google for "dakota camera hack" and you will find the details.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014352)

Take a look at some of the images [maushammer.com]. You can see an edge connector along one side of the PCB. Odds are this is there data is pulled from. Since they (the hackers) claim to have been able to update the firmware, I would assume that they are close to being able to pull data off as well.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (5, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014404)

An interesting thought: is the memory actually wiped after it gets recycled from the last person, or do they simply reset the index? If they don't wipe it fully, it may be possible to undelete the files and recover the last user's pictures from the device.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (1)

rost0031 (805973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014217)

I have the first edition of these cameras (the ones without the LCD) and they are pretty good considering they are only 12 dollars. Picture quality is fairly good. Now that these new ones are 2MPixel, I can't wait for the hacks.

Re:Heh, this should be short lived. (4, Interesting)

Gulik (179693) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014417)

How long before "disposable" becomes "free" with a simple hardware/software hack?

It seems to me (and this is admittedly off the top of my head, and I apologize if it can be trivially proven to be stupid) that, if you set the camera up so the camera encrypted the JPEG in hardware before it landed on the memory card using a public key, you'd need a private key to get to the JPEG, and the private key would only be on the developing station.

So, sure, someone could hack the developing station, but those are going to be a lot harder to lay hands on than the cameras are. And if the only thing you can ever get from the camera is the public key, and you can't work around the hardware to intercept the image data before encryption, I would think you're pretty well stuck.

cool (4, Interesting)

JoeShmoe950 (605274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014158)

I really hope it is hackable. I mean, a 2 megapixel digital camera with LCD for $19.99 would be a pretty good deal, even if it takes a day or two, and even 1 or two broken cameras first. I hope someone comes up with a hack!

I just want the LCD (5, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014277)

Forget the 2megapixel camera, I want cheap LCD's.
Hopefully the hardware gurus recycle all of the parts, so we can have a webcam, a display, and a memory stick, all for the low low price of $20.00

Re:cool (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014442)

I really hope it is hackable. I mean, a 2 megapixel digital camera with LCD for $19.99 would be a pretty good deal, even if it takes a day or two, and even 1 or two broken cameras first. I hope someone comes up with a hack!

Perfect also as a low cost camera for attaching to radio controlled plains and kites. All that's required is figuring how to trigger the exposures.

I wonder if the guts are dipped in epoxy to discourage what happened to the CueCat [air-soldier.com], i.e. they sell/give out several thousand but only half ever come back or are used as intended.

Why? (2, Insightful)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014166)

This is even a worse idea than the "2 day dvd lasting" media.
Why do this?

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

molafson (716807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014236)

N.B. The cameras aren't "disposable" in the sense that you throw them away. The company refurbishes them 5-8 times and puts them back on the market.

Re:Why? (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014243)

Considering that this is "version 2," I assume that it's because they made a lot of money off the first one.

how about you give a reason why it's crappy then? (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014267)

huh? why exactly is it a _bad_ idea, if they just can make it profitable?

ever used crappy disposable cameras? the worst thing about them is that a lot of the pictures you take turn out as total crap. a preview screen on them would be a great improvement.

it's a replacement for MEGACRAPPYSHIT disposable cameras, and a lot of folk visiting disneyworld or whatever would like one of these. it's cheap for them(customers), so they don't have to have even any stress about if it breaks in the rides or if they lose it and yet they can take better pictures than with a normal disposable one.

20$ for a rent of a 2mpix camera and service to get the pics on a cd isn't _that_ bad at amusementparks & etc..

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014371)

And your grammar is even worse than the idea. "2 day dvd lasting?" What the hell? Pick up a thesaurus, my friend.

Marketing (5, Insightful)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014170)


Finally my point is proven - this is what happens when the marketing department controls projects !!

I know I'm trolling, but... (5, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014179)

For exactly which economic bracket is $20 considered "disposable"? I consider myself middle-class, and I'm not going to throw anything away unless it cost under $8, if I can help it.

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (3, Insightful)

Diphthong (461653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014218)

I think their notion is that you get more than $8 of value out of this thing. Because it's digital with preview/delete, you can nix bad pictures before going to get them developed, something you cannot do with a disposable film camera.

In other words, they're banking that a $20 disposable digital is worth about two $10 disposable film cameras, or more.

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014272)

True, even small amounts add up . . . quarter million here, quarter million there, pretty soon you're talking real money.

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014284)

What I want to know is how they can sell these things at $20 a piece? LCD screens have come down in price *some*, but they can't be THAT cheap! Are these actually disposable, or is it really just a tricky recycling maneuver?

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014348)

Of course they're recycling, duh! Did you real think the throw the thing away after processing your pictures?

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (1)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014353)

A recycling maneuver. Ritz/whoever keeps the camera, downloads your pics, prints your prints and burns your CD, then resells the camera to someone else.

I wonder if they *really* wipe the memory, or just delete/dealloc the memory. It'd be very mildly entertaining to see if you could wait a bit and find someone else's pics in the memory.

Of course, the only folks buying these right away (I'd guess) are /.ers who will soon hack it for personal reuse.

/me runs to ritz

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014303)

The economic bracket that goes to Disney World, for one. But really- how much does the regular disposable camera end up costing you? And how many of the shots do you waste because there's no preview/delete?

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (3, Informative)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014328)

For exactly which economic bracket is $20 considered "disposable"? I consider myself middle-class, and I'm not going to throw anything away unless it cost under $8, if I can help it.

Well, you said you're trolling, but I suppose there might be people who have never used disposable cameras. They're not throw-away. You're basically renting them. You're paying for the convenience of not owning a camera or not having one with you. The camera doesn't get thrown away when you're done. You just don't get to keep it. More like leasing than renting, I guess. You take it to the processor, and they give you pictures and then refurbish the camera and sell it again.

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (5, Interesting)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014346)

It depends... from the site, it appears to have a 16MB memory capacity, which at 2 megapixel is something like 50 or 60 pictures. Considering a decent disposable camera that takes 24 pics costs $5, this is less than twice as much per picture, and gives you the ability to preview and delete pics you don't want developed. Add to that the possibility of modding/hacking it and the potential environmental friendlyness of not using film, and you're not talking a huge cost for the value.

Re:I know I'm trolling, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014381)

> For exactly which economic bracket is $20 considered "disposable"?

I'm guessing the economic bracket that wouldn't buy this anyway because they already have a DSLR and a camera phone.

Disposable Society (2, Insightful)

Alaskan Snake (795157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014182)

Hear that? That's the collective sigh of landfills across the nation.

Re:Disposable Society (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014204)

You don't throw the camera away. You take it back to the drugstore for processing, where they reset, refurbish and generally sell it again.

Re:Disposable Society (0, Offtopic)

hudsong (751985) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014234)

NO kidding man. Christ...do people think resources are endless? "Oh, theres more oil in Alaska!" Yeah..1 months worth.

Re:Disposable Society (1)

tanthalas (806170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014247)

Oh no, I doubt those cameras will be entirely disposable. You see, in order for your prints to be made you have to give it to one of those stores with said processor. Do you really think you're going to get your camera back? What happens after that? The store keeps it, makes it look pretty again if it was slightly damaged, repackages it, and resells it. These cameras are reusable in every way, from what I can see in the article. I'd say they'd make a lot of money from just selling one camera over and over again.

Google IPO! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014195)

Google stock price surging!

This seems strange to me... (1, Redundant)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014209)

First off, how in the hell do they charge so little for something with an LCD? Can we hope that such cheap technology could be used im other smaller devices? Also, why pay 20 bucks for a disposable digital camera when you can get a 35mm for like 7? Seems to be an amazing advance in technology/ price point, but nevertheless a futile effort to make everything digital.

Re:This seems strange to me... (3, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014257)

They sell it more than once. To the consumer, the "disposable" angle is that they only use it once, and return it when the pictures are developed.

With a 35mm camera, you don't get to delete pictures and review pretty screenshots before you print. It's just not the same.

Worth the extra $? Perhaps, perhaps not- depends on how much $ you have to throw around. But I'd hardly call this a "futile" attempt. It will make the next round of similar cameras even better and cheaper. There's money in it.

Re:This seems strange to me... (2, Insightful)

Yardboy (742224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014360)

The benefit is being able to recognize, delete and re-shoot poor pictures, which is one of the big pluses of digital photography. The $7 35mm disposable, 24 pictures, might on average net you 8-10 keeper pics. With the digital version, you're guaranteed 25 pictures that you want processed, because you can keep re-shooting until you get 25 good ones. Net-net, probably close to break-even on cost (assuming my 33% estimate above) - coincidence? Also, while some processors don't force you to pay for pictures you don't like, that doesn't alleviate the "sighing landfills" issue. IF you are going to buy a disposable camera, then this would be the more environmentally friendly version, assuming the cameras themselves are recycled as advertised.

It was bound to happen (1)

UMhydrogen (761047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014210)

In a day and age when it seems that almost everyone uses digital cameras, I'm not surprised that they came out with disposable digital cameras. If you look now, most people are using either digital, or film disposable cameras (aside from professional cameras, which are increasingly turning digital).

Digital cameras make things so much easier - no bad pictures (as this one disposable will allow), you can see the picture after it's taken and you can get a copy of it digitally (non-scanned). There are so many reasons for a disposable digital camera - they include every reason to have a digital camera over a film camera.

walgreens (1)

munboy (732717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014215)

our walgreens has had digital cameras for $9.99 since like a year ago, but they don't have a preview screen. you can just delete them before bringing it back. you also get a free picture CD.

LCD's and Muvo's (2, Insightful)

pr0file (238078) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014224)

How much do you want to bet that people will bulk buy these things just for the screens
hmm.. come to think of it.. i'll get my orders in now!!!

Gauges (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014227)

I'm looking foward to sticking LCD gauges all around the house with these babies! :)

cexx.org: the last link in the article, pre-/.ing (5, Informative)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014230)

Controller
SMaL Camera Technologies

Numbering on controller chip:
AIC0021B
02TWN5103
C68051.00
Memory
16M x8 NAND Flash memory: Samsung K9F2808UO8-YCB0

4Mx16 SDRAM: Micron Technologies MT48LC4M16A2TG-75E
Preliminary stuff of interest
The edge connector of the PV2 electrically matches that of the classic Dakota, at least as far as the USB pins go; whatever cable/contraption used to access the classic should work for this one without modifications.

Holding down ALL the buttons at once (shutter, Display, Delete) while turning on power will display a diagnostic screen showing the camera's serial number, firmware revision and similar information.

See John's Dakota page with an update for the PV2, including some USB info, datasheets for the more interesting parts (including the LCD) and a gallery of good dissection photos.
USB info
Here is the dump-out from SUCR commandline, walking thru the device properties. (All versions of SUCR do this, in case the manufacturer decided to get clever and move the devices/interfaces/endpoints/altsettings around). This gives a good idea of the 'organization' of the camera's USB interface.

usb_set_debug: Setting debugging level to 3 (on) LIBUSB_DLL: usb_os_init: dll version: 0.1.8.0 LIBUSB_DLL: usb_os_init: driver version: 0.1.8.0 LIBUSB_DLL: usb_os_find_busses: found bus-0 LIBUSB_DLL: usb_os_find_devices: found \\.\libusb0-0003--0x058f-0x9254 on bus-0 LIBUSB_DLL: usb_os_find_devices: found \\.\libusb0-0004--0x0dca-0x0027 on bus-0 Looking at device with USB id 058F/9254 Looking at device with USB id 0DCA/0027 Found camera... This device has 2 possible configuration(s). Looking at configuration 0...This configuration has 1 interfaces. Looking at interface 0...This interface has 1 altsettings. Looking at altsetting 0...This altsetting has 2 endpoints. Endpoint 0: Address 81h, attributes 02h (Bulk) (In) Endpoint 1: Address 01h, attributes 02h (Bulk) (Out) Looking at configuration 1...This configuration has 1 interfaces. Looking at interface 0...This interface has 1 altsettings. Looking at altsetting 0...This altsetting has 2 endpoints. Endpoint 0: Address 81h, attributes 02h (Bulk) (In) Endpoint 1: Address 01h, attributes 02h (Bulk) (Out) Set config: 0 Found bulk endpoint 129 on Configuration 1 Interface 0 Altsetting 0 Set alt. interface: 0 [...]

The camera has 2 configurations, one is for 200mA and the other is for 100mA, but "seem" otherwise identical. (See the testlibUSB dump-out below for additional details.) When the configuration is set by SUCR, the camera emits a 2-tone ascending beep, and the LED comes on. However, regardless of which of the configurations is used, all control transfers produce a CRC error message from Windows: LIBUSB_DLL error: error sending control message: win error: Data error (cyclic redundancy check).

Here is the output from testlibUSB: DLL version: 0.1.8.0 Driver version: 0.1.8.0 bus/device idVendor/idProduct bus-0/\\.\libusb0-0002--0x0dca-0x0027 0DCA/0027 - Manufacturer : SMaL - Product : Digital Camera wTotalLength: 32 bNumInterfaces: 1 bConfigurationValue: 1 iConfiguration: 3 bmAttributes: 80h MaxPower: 100 bInterfaceNumber: 0 bAlternateSetting: 0 bNumEndpoints: 2 bInterfaceClass: 255 bInterfaceSubClass: 0 bInterfaceProtocol: 0 iInterface: 0 bEndpointAddress: 81h bmAttributes: 02h wMaxPacketSize: 64 bInterval: 0 bRefresh: 0 bSynchAddress: 0 bEndpointAddress: 01h bmAttributes: 02h wMaxPacketSize: 64 bInterval: 0 bRefresh: 0 bSynchAddress: 0 wTotalLength: 32 bNumInterfaces: 1 bConfigurationValue: 2 iConfiguration: 3 bmAttributes: 80h MaxPower: 50 bInterfaceNumber: 0 bAlternateSetting: 0 bNumEndpoints: 2 bInterfaceClass: 255 bInterfaceSubClass: 0 bInterfaceProtocol: 0 iInterface: 0 bEndpointAddress: 81h bmAttributes: 02h wMaxPacketSize: 64 bInterval: 0 bRefresh: 0 bSynchAddress: 0 bEndpointAddress: 01h bmAttributes: 02h wMaxPacketSize: 64 bInterval: 0 bRefresh: 0 bSynchAddress: 0
Some dissection pictures
Back of the PV2. The case is held together by 3 screws cleverly hidden beneath the sticker on the back - one to the left of the on/off switch, one to the left of the viewfinder, and one just beneath the 'recycle' logo at lower right. Feel around with your fingers and you'll find 'em easily enough.

Front side showing the SMaL controller, lens (now with electronically-actuated cover), and high-voltage flash capacitor, the business end of which is exposed...so be careful. If you want to remove the LCD, one of the screws is partially beneath/behind the capacitor, so you'll have to sort of force it out of the way a bit.

Luckily, the USB edge connector doesn't appear to have changed.

Back side of board, with LCD screen removed. There are places for 2 extra buttons, to the left and right of the Display button. While the camera is 'ready' (e.g. not just starting up or at diagnostic screen), 'pressing' (shorting) the phantom switch SW1 causes the camera to beep 3 times, but no other effect is evident. (Of course, I haven't actually taken any pictures on it yet). Shorting SW4 doesn't seem to do anything.

Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (0)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014231)

Why does society insist make making more and more disposable crap? Like we need more things filling up landfills.

This whole disposable movement just evolves us to making more stuff that has lower and lower quality. Hence the saying "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Sound familiar? Back in the day, ALL cameras were made of a metal body. You could blugeon someone to death with your camera and it would still be alright to take the murder scene photos afterwards. You can't do that with today's plastic cameras.

Granted some items being disposable do in fact better society, such as facial tissue and toilet paper, but for non-consumable items, we should stick to making durable QUALITY goods!

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (1)

JaffaKREE (766802) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014307)

You could blugeon someone to death with your camera

So, uh... I guess that film career didn't work out for you ?

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (5, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014324)

Of course, in this case Disposable == Recyclable. Or do you really think they simply pitch the 2 megapixel CCD sensor, LCD display, internal memory, camera body, etc. in the garbage after you bring it in?

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014330)

Simple. Why make a $50 camera that will last for 50 years, when you can make a $10 camera that will last for 2 years? Make things cheap and easily broken, and people will buy a new one every few years. That is the mentality.

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (2, Informative)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014354)

Like we need more things filling up landfills.

im suprised the mods didn't see this!
the cameras do NOT, i repeat, do NOT go in the landfills, they are resold back to the public from the store after use.

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (3, Funny)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014407)

im suprised the mods didn't see this!

You must be new here. :)

the cameras do NOT, i repeat, do NOT go in the landfills, they are resold back to the public from the store after use

Yes, I am continually amazed by the ignorance. Disposable camera means the CONSUMER disposes of it, not the "film processor."

What I'd like to know is, how many times have these ignoramuses bought a disposable camera, taken a roll of pictures, and then tossed it in the garbage?

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014424)

You're not look far enough. At what point do they realize that they can't re-package and re-sell it again?

Being "disposable", people aren't going to care. They'll bring it back in the worst shape possible. Scratches on the lens, chips in the body, cracks. At some point it IS going to be disposed. And for what it's worth, somewhere along the lines of the design phase, they factored in the cost of actually having to throw out cameras and building their replacements.

Sometimes you need to read between the lines of the article.

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014427)

Why does society insist make making more and more disposable crap?

I'm glad you laid the blame on society, because if people didn't buy disposible crap, there'd be no money in it, and companies would stop making it.

Of course, the decades of Marketing that equate "disposible" with "convenient" have been a major contribution to the problem in the first place, but it goes to show that although there is a lot of lip-service paid to "environmentally friendly" options, the actions of the consumer show that, in reality, he couldn't give a fuck.

Re:Disposable = Cheaper for Consumers (1)

rost0031 (805973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014448)

I disagree. I, for one, don't use a camera often. It's cheaper for me to just use a disposable camera once in a while for $20 instead of purchasing a $200 equivalent. In addition to that, the technology behind digital cameras is upgraded almost on a weekly basis. When you purchase one of the top of the line cameras, you are outdated by the end of the 2 month period or so. As far as the old-school metal quality cameras are concerned, do you happen to remember the price of those things? There was a reason for the high price tag - they were well constructed. While the overall quality was higher, it was fairly useless. Unless, like you say you want to bludgeon someone to death with it, it doesn't need to be used as a hammer. There are perfectly good hammers for that. If you treat you fragile electronics nicely, they will (usually) treat you nicely. Besides, how do you convice someone to buy a new camera every year or two, when you built them to last for life? :)

Re:Disposable = Poor Quality Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014463)

Digital camera tech is still advancing very fast, so it makes little sense to make housings that last. Would you use your all-metal 1.3MP camera from a few years ago, or the latest 4MP big CCD better lens plastic camera that's a lot cheaper?

Peace of mind maybe? (1)

wastingtape (576230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014237)

$20 isn't so bad. I really wish the article would have mentioned how much storage space you got, or how many pictures it could take.

The one advantage i see to this is you worry less about your camera. I own a few digital cameras, one being a Sony F717. It was a bit on the pricier side when i bought it, and even has it's own leather bag. Problem is, when taking it to places like Disney land, i always worry about it, wondering if it's going to be ripped off or broken, or fly out of my hands on a ride. It's more of a burden than anything. A disposable digital camera, ah, if i breaks, only $20. :P The piece of mind might be worth it for these amusement-park "memory" type things.

Just for the oops? (0)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014240)

This seems to be adding a previewer to existing photo capabilities, since the camera does not get used again.

Hopefully the processed cameras are just repackaged (with new cardboard shell). Otherwise, what a horrible way to increase trash output.

If it is pure throw-away why not trap the image, allow a Y/N selection, and open the iris to the film medium if 'Y'.

Not truely 'Disposable'... (0, Redundant)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014241)

After you get your prints, the memory is wiped and the unit is repackaged. The camera is then resold to the general public.

Great...just what our environment needs. (0, Redundant)

Savage Conan (736365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014242)

Am I the only one who is troubled with disposable cameras? The old kind were bad enough to our environment. What the hell are a bunch of LCD's gonna do to our environment. Besides why would you want a disposable when the real thing doesn't cost that much more.

Re:Great...just what our environment needs. (1)

Savage Conan (736365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014274)

One more thing...when something is made to be thrown away after a couple of uses, I think it would be a great idea to make that company have a decent recycling program for the items that just load our land fills.

Im taking bets... (1)

Blue Eagle 26 (683113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014254)

Im Taking bets on how long until its hacked. Here are the odds: 1st week: 2/1 1st month: 10/1 1st 2 months: 40/1 1st 4 months: 120/1 1st 6 months: 100000/1 1st year: Same odds as Jesus returning and winning the lottery just to be struck by lightning.

How to make a digicam unhackable? (4, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014259)

Is it possible to make something like this that's more trouble to hack than it's worth? How much work would it be?

Embedded CPU with built-in mask-programmed or fusible-link ROM. Encrypted images in the flash, with the key in the CPU's ROM so it can't be read out. It shouldn't be impossible to lock something like this down hard enough that it'd cost more than the value of a cheap digicam to unlock it.

Re:How to make a digicam unhackable? (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014444)

Well obviously they could lock it down - they could devise their own interface spec, build a custom chip to put in the camera...

But in reality they decided to use off the shelf components to slash development costs and it's coming back to bite them.

The problem with anything like that is, that the reverse engineering will always be more trouble than it's worth to the person who does the engineering. If i put 10 hours of my time into it then i could have bought a few cheap digicams with the money i've lost in earnings.

But it's a challenge and if i had the time and didn't hate debugging usb so much i'd take a shot at it. And if one person suceeds then everybody can reap the benifits.

How much memory? (2, Informative)

Ianoo (711633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014262)

It doesn't mention how much memory is inside one of these things. Presumably, it could easily be enough for a couple of hundred 2MP pictures. If this is the case, combined with the preview/review LCD (one of the biggest advantages of digicams when on the road, IMHO), it could certainly be successful.

Won't someone mind the landfills... (1)

Wynken de Word (649514) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014264)

...or the third-world slums where this senseless 1st-world waste is gonna end up? What I'd really like to know is which creates more waste: manufacturing traditional film and then developing it, (i.e. two-stages of chemical production, film cansiters, etc.), or manufacturing a digitial camera (lots of chemical waste) but no development waste (except of course the computer you need to upgrade to edit a 10 megapixel image, and then you buy a 12 MP camera next year, etc.).

Re:Won't someone mind the landfills... (1)

wastingtape (576230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014311)

I'd assume you'd have to give the camera to the processing place in order to get your pictures. Mabye they'll ship them back to the factory for refurbushing?

It'll never work. (3, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014283)


Face it, 99% of the digital cameras out there are sold for the recording of the owners' bedroom adventures. Nobody's going to pick one of these cameras up when they realize that Betty Lou Bluehair down at the photo counter at Wal-Mart will get to see them rubbing up against some fat guy in a squirrel suit he had shipped over from Japan.

Re:It'll never work. (2, Funny)

aredubya74 (266988) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014358)

...rubbing up against some fat guy in a squirrel suit he had shipped over from Japan.

You can get a fat guy in a squirrel suit shipped from Japan? Wow, what will J-List [jlist.com] think of next?

Brain-dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014290)

I bet it's a recyclable camera, not a disposable. You hand it to the film processor who get the photos from the memory to print, and "sells" it again to the next customer. You're essentially just renting the camera. Now renting makes sense for very expensive things that people won't use very often. Digital camera's aren't. You can get a decent 2MP Canon for less than $120, who in their right mind would buy this? Ok, maybe for the few occasions where you forgot your camera. But with more camera's integrated in phones, that market will also dry up pretty soon.

Re:Brain-dead (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014362)

But with more camera's integrated in phones, that market will also dry up pretty soon.

You must mean the market for low-res, low-color, grainy images.

Batteries (1)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014301)

No mention of batteries! They can't expect Joe Consumer to know how much power an LCD eats, and therefore, AA's are NOT going to be enough. Also, I doubt that $20 includes any batteries...yet another couple bucks onto the price.

Re:Batteries (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014428)

Then don't use the LCD to frame the picture, just to get a quick view of it to decide if it is worth keeping, I use that mode on my kodak and am still on the original battery after almost a year of shooting.

James

Re:Batteries (1)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014464)

Yes, but I am guessing that you have rechargeable batteries of some sort. My Kodak has a LiIon battery that lasts FOREVER, but also cost a fortune. My old Olympus took AAs and ate them like an old Sega Gamegear. 8 hours TOPS.

Not a bad move (2, Interesting)

JOhn-E G (643553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014341)

This looks cool, not that I would use it as I have a digital camera [dpreview.com] that I am happy with already, but the retailers can reuse the cameras making it a little cheaper for them, and the disposable camera market seems to do pretty well. I think they can replace the disposable 35mm cameras with these fairly well. However as an end users more than maybe 7-8 uses of this becomes pointless as you can get your own one for that much. Though if they are hacked and they turn into $20 digital cameras then I think the company will have to go back to the drawing board. It will be interesting to see if these become mainstream soon or not.

Relax! They're not really "disposable" (2, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014342)

Even with amazingly inexpensive Chinese labour, you can't make a camera with LCD panel for $12 (the probably wholesale cost to the shop). Instead, they "refurb" and resell the camera to the next person - even if they replace the plastic case and battery, it'll probably only cost a couple of dollars to do. SO, they're amortizing the cost over a longer expected life-span. I wonder how many times these will get recycled. And I wonder how they work after being tossed around at a dozen or so frat parties...

Quality (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014350)

While digital camers are great for features and useability you still cannot beat 35mm film for quality.

My college course in photography demands students have a 35mm camera, no digital allowed. And thats for a pretty good reason as well.

Especially for the price i'd rather have a 35mm disposable than a digital the quality will always be so much better.

My PV2 page (5, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014366)

I did the original hack on the old camera, and, of course, I'm working on the new one... here's my web page on it. [maushammer.com]

The next step is a ROM dump -- then we can see if there is any code in the flash memory, or if it's stored on the ASIC. I suspect that there is a bootloader on the ASIC and the bulk of the code (certainly the pre-programmed images) is on the flash. Don't know if it's encrypted or scrambled yet.

We're still working on the resolution of the sensor. I read the part number last night, but didn't return any google hits. We can't really rely on the size of the pictures one would get back from processing because, in the past, they've upscaled it.

guarantee it won't be $20 at Disney (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014368)

They'll mark it up and charge $30 for it to make a larger profit.

Why? (1)

adamh526 (725423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014395)

Why would anyone want this when you need to bring it to the store for processing? One of the selling points of digital cameras is that you can edit, print, etc your pictures from the comfort of your home. How about software that allows you to dump pictures from the camera once before it formats its internal disk?

I beg to differ (4, Funny)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014412)

The first disposable digital camera was the SiPix Blink I got for $50 from Fry's. After using it, you want to throw it away even if you have the receipt, because you want to prevent any other human being from undergoing the sheer torture. I looked at the $50 as a charity expense.

potentially dumb question (4, Interesting)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014413)

that I should google first but... I haven't had my quota for abuse today:

Has anyone done any cool hardware hacks to utlize a digital camera's LCD for other purposes? (thinking case mod, mp3 jukebox (like a real jukebox [jukeboxcontrols.com] (friend's site), not an ipod) display.

my understanding that trying to use an old laptop's LCD (separate from the laptop) is near unpossible or not worth the effort...

*shrug* some sort of dimented light bulb went off when I saw the post...

e.

The trifecta... (1)

Yardboy (742224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014414)

We have digital camera phones, we have disposable phones, now we have disposable digital cameras...next up, disposable digital camera phones - take an uninteresting picture of your cat, send it to someone you don't really like that much anyway, call them to confirm they got it, and throw the whole thing away before they answer.

Careful! It's not really 2 Megapixel (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014421)

If you read the fine print on the box it's "Interpolated" to 2 Megapixel.

Don't expect it to look better than the 1.2 Megapixel camera it really is.

I dont get it (0)

mtrupe (156137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014423)

What the hell is the point of a disposable digital camera? Are people that stupid?

I suppose they are--- people are still wasting their money on Polaroids.

Hacking (1)

ptelligence (685287) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014429)

They're banking on the dough that they'll get from recycling these things and selling the same camera over and over again for $19.99 a pop. That's a lot to pay for one set of prints. (especially 2 megapixels with a poor zoom) It seems to me like it's just a ploy to get the digital camera generation to spend money at your local drug store's photo lab.


I'm sure these things will be hacked and that will drive sales, but that hacking will kill their revenue stream which is banking on selling them 6-8 times over. I wouldn't be suprised if they put some type of non-tampering clause in with the packaging or stored the pics in some proprietary format. Of course that won't stop anybody from hacking it, but then how do I get the pics to my computer?


By the time these things become popular they'll be obsolete. Being bought out by Kodak (or whomever) is probably the best thing that could happen to these guys.

Disposable != One-time use (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014432)

Another unfortunately titled /. article leading to hundreds of pointless conversations by people who do not RTFA. I blame /. editors more than /. readers for this one though.

The cameras are meant to be used once and returned to a printing facility, whereby the images are off-loaded and then the camera itself is put back into circulation.

Environmental disaster in the making (4, Interesting)

FFFish (7567) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014435)

LCDs are manufactured using an resource-intensive process, AFAIK, with large volumes of contanimated water as a waste product, and large volumes of dangerous chemicals being used/reused/disposed in the process.

The same goes for CCDs and the electronic guts.

How the fuck can anyone conceive this as a good idea? What an utter disregard for the inheritance of our children!

That said, I want one, just to hack. But, shit, surely we humans have *got* to get a clue one of these days.

Prints and Batteries included? (1)

TEMM (731243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10014461)

For 20 bucks US the batteries and a set of prints are probably included. I mean i can pick up a film camera for 5 bucks CAD that includes a set of single prints. The poster says it includes a photo cd but i wouldnt be suprised it it included a set of prints as well. Also I have yet to find a disposable/recyclable camera that DOESNT come with batteries

Why are digital cameras disposable at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10014467)

Normal cameras are disposable because locking the film into the case creates a necessity for single-use.

Why on earth is any digital camera disposable? What part NEEDS to be replaced in order for the machine to be used again?
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