Instaprint mobile photo booths update old school Polaroid fun

Photos and photo apps are a part of our everyday life now thanks to our mobile phones. A big downside is that in most cases we never print the photos — they stay in the virtual world. Wouldn't it just be nice to be able to print one out every now and then?

The folks at Brooklyn-based Breakfast thought so, too, and they created a location-specific photo booth called the Instaprint. The devices are powered by Linux computers that connect to your mobile device via Wi-Fi to print out your Instagram photos. The photos print out like old-school Polaroids you may remember, but the process is definitely new school.

First, there's the whole mobile device, Wi-Fi connectivity stuff we mentioned above that didn't exist when Polaroids first became popular. The team has also added user-specific hash tags or locations that act as the cue to print the photos from your mobile device. There is even a comments feature allowing you to further personalize your shots.

Despite the modern updates, the Instaprint booths get their small size and shape by utilizing old school Polaroid technology — inkless paper. It's what made Polaroids so much fun in the first place — you could instantly print to show off. The inkless technology works by layering invisible colored crystals on the paper that react to heat inside the machine.

The team at Breakfast had a prototype of the Instaprint back in the spring of 2011 where it was met by celebrity acclaim — with people hamming it up at the Grammys and the like. Breakfast could have kept it an exclusive party hit, but the company's mantra is creating custom digital experiences to bridge the gap between the online and the real world. And by the real world, they mean us!

In order to take the Instaprint to the public so we can all have that photo booth experience, the company has turned to Kickstarter in order fund start up mass production. They are looking to raise $500,000 by April 29 with various incentives for your level of pledge — including a DIY kit at the $399 level.

If you love the idea and want to check out how it works (and have your 15 minutes of fame at the same time), you can check out the live stream from two Instaprint devices on the site Instaprint.me. Your photo will be sent to the machine by using the hashtag #instaprint.

Kickstarter, via CNET

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