Picture of 360 degree analog camera hat
Forget Instagram, bring back that retro look to your pictures by using classic analog film in a fun new way. This camera hat was made using leftover single-use 35mm film cameras and several small servo motors, all powered by two AA batteries. With the camera array sitting on your head, you're able to capture a 360° panorama view of your surroundings. This project requires no special electronics knowledge and can be assembled in about an hour.

I designed this camera array off something I saw on the "Radar Detector" music video by Darwin Deez. But, after making the camera hat, everyone kept asking if it was a low-fi version of Google Street View. It's more the former than the latter, but people can draw their own interpretations. There's also Chindogu.

Of course you can always just buy (or win) a 360° panorama camera, but it's no where near as eye-catching as this one.

Enough talk, let's make a 360° panorama camera hat!

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Step 1: Tools + materials

Picture of tools + materials
  • hobby knife
  • soldering iron
  • wire strippers
  • screwdrivers

  • 6-8 x single-use film cameras
  • plastic garbage can (large enough for your head)
  • cable ties (assorted)
  • 6-8 x hobby servo motors (I used 5gram servos)
  • 2 x AA batteries
  • 1 x double AA battery holder
  • Normally-open (N.O) momentary switch
  • thin-gauge braided wire
  • heat-shrink tubing

Step 2: Cut can to size

Picture of cut can to size
In order to hold the cameras and servos in place there needs to be a frame. I used an inexpensive plastic garbage bucket from the Dollar Store. Choose a bucket that can fit over your head (ignore the odd looks from other shoppers when you're trying out buckets on your head).

Next, I scored a cut line around the circumference of the bucket by elevating my hobby knife on a stable platform and rotating the bucket. Working slowly I carefully cut into the bucket until the lower bucket portion was separated from the rest.

Remove any burrs around edge, sand with a fine grit sandpaper if you like.
This bottom portion of the bucket will fit over your head and hold all the cameras, servos and battery assembly.
ychen92 years ago
thanks for sharing.
I made this camera hat preference by your blog.
and it's success!!!! thank you.
I changed the electrode design for the switch that can mack servos turn back by itslef :)

i'm from Taiwan , Taipei
mikeasaurus (author)  ychen92 years ago
That's really great!
For sharing your version I've awarded you a 3-month Pro Membership to and given you a digital patch.
Canoeman2 years ago
Would you please photograph yourself trying to get by the TSA, getting on a plane? :-) I'll pay to watch.

what ever you do, stay out of sight, of the NYPD.

cool idea.
Misac-kun2 years ago
what about a pedestal for proper alignment? it should help a lot!
hertzgamma2 years ago
That is cool!
KGuy2 years ago
I had this idea once when I was young, I just never came around to doing it and knowing what to do........

.......saying that, you did a great job! 5*
zootboy2 years ago
You should give the software Hugin a try. It lets you stitch panoramic photos together graphically, and has all sorts of algorithms built in to compensate for differences in exposure, white balance, lens distortion, etc.
mikeasaurus (author)  zootboy2 years ago
Thanks for the link, I deliberately left these shots unaltered to show the edge definition and what you can expect from a typical 6 camera setup.
gempje2 years ago
haha this is fun!
great results
depotdevoid2 years ago
Cool idea! I love the panoramas!
awi2 years ago
Wow Great effort and great results!!

I photograph panoramas with a fancy roundshot camera, but this surely gives nice results. Maybe your next project will involve a battery of digital cameras.

MoritzB2 years ago
Wouldn´t it be easier to set all the contacts of the camera´s push buttons in parallel, instead of wasting 6 servos?

But nevertheless, great project :-)
I don't see that you could do that with these single-use 35mm film cameras, the buttons are mechanical.
Or if you wanna wire directly you can use these el-cheapo digital cameras instead:

By the way I don't know if there's such a thing as a photo shield for arduino
Those would probably work out cheaper than the processing on the 35mm film.
Providing there is enough overlap in the images you can use panorama software to stitch them together.

Finished panoramas can be uploaded to for sharing.

Here is one that I did (you will need Quicktime to view it):

kbhasi2 years ago
Go put it in the analog camera challenge
this is great ive been trying to figure out a cheaper way to do this instead of buying a panoramic camera
ChrysN2 years ago
That's really cool, great idea!
derte842 years ago
Great hack!
iceng2 years ago
I agree this is a super hat very imaginative !!!
Gave you five.

Have look here for a panorama of a desert event :-)