Paragraphica creates “photos” based on your location

Paragraphica is a camera that creates AI-generated “photos” using your location data. We spotted this on Twitter yesterday, loved it, saw it explode, and were exceptionally pleased to learn that it’s powered by Raspberry Pi.

All of the images in this post are borrowed from Bjørn’s excellent social media and website

Bjørn’s goal with Paragraphica was to “question the role of AI in a time of creative tension”. He also managed to send the internet into meltdown, with tens of thousands of views on every single tweet in a long thread showcasing his invention.

What does it do?

Data from the location of the photographer is scraped with open APIs. The weather, street address, time of day, and local points of interest all are combined to compose a short paragraph describing the scene. Text-to-image AI then converts the words into a “photo”.

While it’s not traditional photography created by a human, the result is an abstract interpretation of how an AI model “sees” where you are.

Let’s see some examples

You can see Bjørn in real life taking the “photo” on the left of the next three images. The API-composed paragraph is in the centre, and the resulting AI-generated image on the right.

The API got the orange memo
That’s pretty close to reality!
Watercolour vibes here but definitely a dreamy reimagining of the real thing

Hardware

  • Touchscreen
  • 3D printed enclosure

The special spray-painted spiky red thing on the front is designed to look like a star-nosed mole. The animal is a metaphor for the project as it lives and hunts underground, with no need for light. It “sees” through these finger-like antennae:

This image is our favourite thing about the entire project

Analogue design, futuristic intentions

The dials on top of the camera let the “photographer” set data ranges and AI image settings. We like the analogue look of such a futuristic interpretation of photography.

You’ll notice there is no lens on Paragraphica as it doesn’t need any light to operate, just like the star-nosed mole. Raspberry Pi provides internet access to allow GPS to read the photographer’s location and scrape the data needed to determine the time of day, weather, etc. before feeding the information into the software that conjures up the descriptive paragraph, then spits it out as a “photograph”.

Play with Paragraphica

The camera doesn’t just exist as the one physical prototype you see in Bjørn’s hands, there’s a virtual version you can play with online. Below is a screenshot of all the images that have been created and submitted from all over the world.

Paragraphica website screengrab

The internet explosion yesterday crashed the server:

But hopefully you’ll be able to get on and generate photos for yourself, wherever you are in the world, soon. Excellent innovation Bjørn, and thanks for making Raspberry Pi part of it.

2 comments

Roxanne avatar

so in love wit dis thingggg!

Ashley Whittaker avatar

It was the last thing that blew up on the bird site before it went insaaaaane.

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