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Meet the camera that shows you a stranger’s images instead of your own

With the instant gratification of a digital camera LCD, we’ve forgotten what photography used to be like – the inability to see what you’re shooting. Leica recently released a $6,000 digital camera without a screen that keeps you in the element of surprise until you download it to your computer. Now, there’s a new camera that not only won’t show you your own images, but Le Myope, instead, shows you someone else’s photos.

Designed by Parisian artist and engineer, Salade Tomate Oignon (or Salad Tomato Onion, in French), the camera, described as “short sighted,” reads the photo that you just took and, using an algorithm, displays a similar photo that someone else took. The photo from a stranger is pulled from Google and could be a shot of a similar item, from the same place, or some other vague interpretation of what a similar photo might be.

Related: Inexpensive Raspberry Pi Zero now comes camera-ready

You can’t buy the camera, however. It is a build-it-yourself option using a programmable Raspberry Pi computer and a camera module. Oignon includes the code he used in his set of instructions to build the camera, which also needs a wireless USB adapter to work.

Instead of displaying the actual guitar, Le Myope found a similar image instead.

Instead of displaying the actual guitar, Le Myope found a similar image instead.

The camera itself isn’t much – boxy and designed with the 5-megapixel camera system for Rasberry Pi. But it’s the code that finds a similar image on the web that’s worth taking a look at. An image you take is stored on the camera, then uploaded to Google Image search to find a similar image, and then downloaded and displayed in lieu of what you actually photographed.

Le Myope isn’t the first unusual camera that Oignon has designed either. The Layer Cam uses a GPS and shows photographers a photo someone else took from that same spot – essentially a tool for those who don’t want to simply take the same photo that’s been shot hundreds of times before.

The camera’s practical use is limited, and Oignon even describes it as “even more imprecise than a blurry polaroid [sic] picture, or than a filter-abused instagram [sic] shot.” But it shows that when you think you are photographing something original, somebody else has probably already taken the same photo.