They call it the OPC Hack & Make Project, and it’s basically the keys to the design kingdom for the latest in Olympus digital camera technology.

opc_project4The Open Platform Camera project is based on a prototype lens-style camera, SDK, and 3D models.

But sadly, it looks like the project isn’t yet open to participants outside Japan.

olympus 3d modelThe critical element to the idea is a lens-style camera something like the Sony QX series. The version which is being used in a Japanese “hackathon” is a 16-megapixel live MOS image sensor taken from the company’s Micro Four Thirds camera line. On the front of the unnamed prototype camera is a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, and as the mounts are the same, it’s likely the full range of Micro Four Thirds lenses will be targeted for inclusion in the project.

The camera can communicate with Android or iOS smartphones via Wi-Fi, and an SDK is available for writing custom applications which interface with the imaging unit itself.

The SDK allows developers to control basic exposure variables like shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity, power zoom lens focal length, still image and video capture, continuous shooting variables, setting the auto-focus point coordinates, setting auto-exposure metering points or areas and read access to camera orientation, and camera pitch and roll from the level gauge.

Olympus hack and make 3d project iphone mountBut the most interesting part of the whole idea to designers will be the full 3D models of the camera itself which include files to create a mounting flange and an iPhone case with the flange incorporated. The files are all available in .stl and .stp format, and there’s also information about how to use a pair of hex screws on the camera unit barrel to make the whole setup much more solid.

Though a 3D model for the prototype camera body doesn’t include the files which describe the lens mount, it’s hard to fault Olympus for that omission. A 3D model of that proprietary mount might be a bit counterproductive for overall sales, but the fact that Sony has revealed as much as it has will surely spur the development of a host of third-party lens adapters.

Image 41Should you be living in Japan, you can probably attend one of the “hackathon” events in the future, and a previous event included lots of users from the 3D printing and photographic communities. And you won’t have to haul around a bunch of hardware as it seems Olympus is providing 3D printers for use at the events.

So what have the hackathon participants done with the SDK and files so far? How about building a WiFi-controlled, rail-mounted camera with smartphone and joystick interfaces? Or if you’re into something more whimsical, there was a wearable costume which featured a laptop, a photo printer, and a lighted costume and hat.

Have you ever designed or printed lens mounts or camera accessories? This set of design files for the Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera line may only be available in Japan at this point, but expect more projects from the major camera manufacturers like this one in the future. Let us know what you think about the project in the Olympus Hack and Make Project forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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