Matt Richardson has invented a camera that tells you what you're seeing

26 April 2012
Reading Time
1 minute read

I love this project so much it makes me a bit dizzy. Right, I’m sitting down now. New York-based developer Matt Richardson has created a camera which provides a text description of the scene focussed on rather than capturing it visually. Like a lot of amazing stuff it actually works by technology rather than magic, in this particular case sending off the image to a person in the Amazon Mechanical Turk service who then provides a couple of sentences about what the image depicts; this is then printed out via the original camera.

Brilliantly this means that the camera doesn’t necessarily just record objectively what is in front of it, it can also have opinions such as “Looks like a cupboard which is old and ugly” adding a fascinatingly fun edge to Matt’s invention. Of course it also has some potentially quite useful ramifications too, such as the ability to quickly record meta data when shooting a huge volume of pictures.

For the full lowdown (and what shampoo adverts might call the science part) head over to Matt’s blog and then spend the rest of the day revelling in the possibilities, maybe looking through your Facebook images and imagining what this amazing little contraption might spew out.


Some of the print-outs from The Descriptive Camera (pictures from


Examples of the images and their descriptions (pictures from

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About the Author

Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

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