Per-i-Sight: MacBook ISight Periscope

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Turn your MacBook iSight into a cam for conferences, lectures, and more with a couple of pieces of cardboard and small mirror. Don't be selfish, point your built in camera forward with this simple periscope: Per-i-Sight! (Sorry, DOESN'T work with MacBook Pro.)

Step 1: Get Materials

1. some sort of thin, but strong(ish), cardboard; I used a PopTarts box.
2. a small plastic mirror. prefferably light weight and thin.
3. pen/pencil and Vis-a-Vis
4. scissors
5. a MacBook (not Pro)
6. Per-i-Sight template: download [broken link, sorry it is a very old file that I can't find any longer]

Step 2: Create Cardboard Brackets

print template. cut around black shape. trace onto cardboard twice. cut out both cardboard brackets. make sure the long skinny slot is the right width for your mirror as it may be different than mine. it's better to make it too small and have to cut more.

Step 3: Attach to MacBook

slide the two brackets onto your MacBook lid so that one shape is on eiher side of your iSight. this can be adjusted later.

Step 4: Mount the Mirror

slide the mirror into the long slots on each cardboard piece.
the cardboard may need to be adjusted for imperfections in cutting. try sandpaper or X-acto. adjust the mirror and cardboard to your liking, I tried to make the template with the optimum angle and distance for maximum viewing image and angle.

ignore the line in my mirror, it's explained in the next step, which is optional.

Step 5: Trim the Mirror

your mirror may be like mine: way too big. the mirror pictured is actually big enough to make four Per-i-Sights.
If you would like, mount the mirror, turn on Photo Booth and using a Vis-a-Vis mark where the tip of the pen enters the image.
draw a few lines on the mirror, slice it up, make some more cardboard brackets and tada! you have a few backups or some for your friends!

Step 6: Enjoy the View!

if you cut the cardboard brackets well, they should fit snug, making it nearly mobile (at least if you don't close your lid). go record something!
*that's my room mate by the way.

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    17 Discussions

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    dsteinmeister

    Question 13 days ago on Step 1

    We are trying to do something similar but using Chromebooks with a user facing camera to do stop motion animation. If you could email me with the template or invite me (david.stein@duke.edu) to the Box account to download them. Thanks.

    1 answer
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    tbesedadsteinmeister

    Answer 10 days ago

    Sorry David, I can't find the file any longer. It's from nearly 13 years ago and lost to a defective hard drive.
    Good luck with your project, sounds interesting!

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    zencuke

    1 year ago

    The single mirror results in a mirror image.

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    macrumpton

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have seen a commercial product similar to this, but with two mirrors so the screen can be upright. Making it steerable would be a big improvement. Another similar idea would be to make a microscope attachment for the camera that clips on in a similar way.

    1 reply
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    mwarren_usmacrumpton

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The Ecamm Huckleberry is a commercial version of this mirror and it comes with their iGlasses software to correct for mirror inversions on Macs.  (I am not affiliated with Ecamm).

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    Lordtucker

    11 years ago on Introduction

    If I use this to try to video-record physics lectures, won't everything on written on the blackboard be reversed? That could make it awfully hard to use. Does anyone know an easy way to get the mirror image of a video?

    3 replies
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    mrblehLordtucker

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It's an option in Photobooth whether or not the it flips the image, I imagine it would be in imovie as well.

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    cwncoolLordtucker

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, this video would be the correct direction. Since normally the isight ends up making a reverse image, when you reflect it like this on a mirror, it flips it back the correct way. ;)

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    plasticpool

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I wonder how hard (or possible) it would be to make it rotate....

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    LasVegas

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting. Is there a specific reason this won't work on a MBP? Is is simply the template would need to be different? If so, I'd be glad to supply a modified template for you.

    2 replies
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    tbesedaLasVegas

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Based on the design of the Huckleberry for the MacBook Pro, I am assuming you need two mirrors to make it work...

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    LasVegastbeseda

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Well... I'll experiment and let you know. I've got a nice refgridgerator mirror to experiment with. It's a great idea and worth the work. Thanks! :)

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    nagutron

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. It would be cool to have two mirrors (like in a submarine periscope) so that you wouldn't need to lean your screen down so far, but this would flip the image upside-down.

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    tbeseda

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Ignore the huge line on the mirror in the first photo. It is explained in step 5. Hope you like it, it's my first one. Enjoy.