The Paragraphica is an AI camera that creates images based on location data and without a lens


Bjorn Karmann, creator of the Paragraphica

Here’s something you may have missed: An AI camera. 

This camera, called the Paragraphica, vaguely resembles the face of a demogorgon from Stranger Things generates images without a lens. It was created by Bjorn Karmann.

When you aim the device and press the button, the viewfinder would then display a text describing the image, instead of actually showing it. 

The device has three dials that lets you control data and AI parameters. Karmann says in his website it’s like operating a traditional camera, which is something I personally disagree with, since a traditional camera has more than three dials, while taking images manually, you need to adjust the lens, adjust the aperture, shutter speed, the white balance, check the lighting conditions, the positioning of the camera, and post-editing, and some random unexpected moment is often welcomed, all of which requires a human touch to capture a moment in time for anyone to appreciate. But then again, perhaps I'm overreacting, and Karmann simply meant, the Paragraphica has the same (mostly) physical design of a traditional camera.


Sample AI image created by the Paragraphica from Karmann's website

The Paragraphica recreates a representation of what it detects. It does this by collecting location data, using address, weather, time of the day, and other nearby places. 

On his website, Karmann wrote: “The resulting ‘photo’ is not just a snapshot, but a visual data visualization and reflection of the location you are at, and perhaps how the AI model ‘sees’ that place. Interestingly the photos do capture some reminiscent moods and emotions from the place but in an uncanny way, as the photos never really look exactly like where I am.”


Sample AI image created by the Paragraphica from Karmann's website

Karmann says the inspiration of the design comes from the star-nosed mole, which lives underground where there is no light. It uses a star-shaped snout to detect its surroundings and help it navigate underground. 

Karmann says the Paragraphica was developed with Noodl software, python code, and Stable Diffusion API, and the hardware is composed of a 15-inch touchscreen and a Raspberry Pi 4.