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This Phone Case Will Polaroid-Print Your Photos (And Give Them Harry Potter Powers)

Alyssa Bereznak
·National Correspondent, Technology
image

(Via Prynt)

Photographs that you can actually hold in your hand –– and not just view on a screen –– are having a moment.  

Google was just granted a patent for a modern day Polaroid camera; Taylor Swift’s latest album featured 65 print-out snapshots; and many, many startups are banking on customers wanting to make memories tangible again.

The latest addition to the club is Prynt, a new iPhone and Galaxy-compatible case that attaches to your phone and transforms it into a modern-day instant camera. When the time for a selfie strikes, you can take a photo, click a button on the case, and it’ll spit out your pic in a cool 30 seconds.

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On first glance, it may seem like a carbon copy of the instant cameras of yore. But Prynt has one trick up its sleeve: It adds a layer of augmented reality to any photo it takes, so that images aren’t just printed –– they also move like the paintings and photos in Harry Potter movies whenever you point your phone’s camera at them and view them on your smartphone’s screen.

image

(Via Prynt)

In fact, J.K. Rowling’s descriptions of magical moving images in newspapers and photographs were the the direct inspiration for this imaging technology, according to Prynt CEO and co-founder Clément Perrot.

"It’s something that people have never seen,” Perrot told Yahoo Tech. “It gives context to what really happens when you shoot a picture. It takes it to the next level. People have experienced augmented reality, but they don’t usually have the opportunity to create or play with it directly.”

image

(Via Prynt)

When it comes to Prynt’s hardware, the case itself weighs about the same as the average smartphone. So if you choose to carry it in a purse, or around you neck with a strap, it’ll double the weight of your load. Once you plug your phone in, it’s immediately connected — no annoying Wi-Fi or Bluetooth waiting game. There’s a button you can take photos from with the camera — which will capture a few shots in between to create an animated image like a GIF. You can use the Prynt app to add filters and frames or to crop photos. Or you can just go straight to Facebook or Instagram to find a photo you like. Once you choose to print an image, you’ll see it slowly move from the screen, out of the printer on the side of the case.

image

(Via Prynt)

There’s no need to shake it like a Polaroid picture. Prynt relies on a printing technology that only uses heat to color an image. It allows for a compact and neat system, as it requires no ink or cartridge replacements.

It does, however, need battery life. The case is able to print 20 photos on a full charge, after which you can plug it into a USB port and wait an hour until it’s fully juiced. As for the printing paper? It costs about 50 cents a sheet and the first package comes with 10 sheets. Not quite a long-term supply, but Perrot says they’ll be easy to reorder via the app. 

Prynt is by no means the first crowd-funded product to bet on a generation’s fondness for tangible photos. A year ago, a Kickstarter named Flag promised to print your photos for free if you’d allow it to print ads on the backside of your order. Then there was LifePrint, a small, Wi-Fi enabled printer that connected to your smartphone. No matter where you were, you could send images to the printer — or to a friend’s — via an accompanying app. And, of course, Polaroid itself recently released a $300 camera that takes Instagram-like photos and lets you print them immediately. 

It’s Perrot’s hope, however, that attaching a printer directly to your smartphone and adding an intriguing new level of technology will set his product apart.

"It’s about the possibility of being at a party, taking a picture, and being able to give it away like that,” he said. “But keeping the experience for yourself.”

Prynt is available in pink, white, and blue, and will work with the iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, and 6, along with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and S5. The Kickstarter campaign for Prynt starts Tuesday at $50. The first batch of cases is scheduled to ship in August. 

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her.

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