Innovation That Matters

Portable, mobile dark room develops film anywhere

Work & Lifestyle

Swiss analog film specialists ars-imago international worked with Italian VIVO Design Studio to create LAB-BOX for on-the-go film development, even in daylight.

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Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, LAB-BOX is a mobile dark room developed by the teams at ars-imago international in partnership with the Rome, Italy-based VIVO Design Studio. Ars-imago international is an Austrian-based company specializing in analog film, and LAB-BOX is designed to work with both 135 and 120 millimeter film. Less than five inches by four inches in size, it is lightweight, easy to carry and capable of developing film even in the sunniest conditions.

To use the mobile dark room, photographers insert the roll of film into the appropriate slot, turn the outside knob to wind the film onto the reel and then pour developing chemicals in and out as needed. Users manually agitate the film during the development process, and the ars-imago team provides a range of suggestions for different results, depending on how much and what kind of chemicals are being used. Useful for students, travelers and professionals, first shipments of LAB-BOX are planned for September 2017, and the teams are already working on automated knob rotation for the agitation process as well as an internal thermometer to control the temperature during development.

With so much of life moving into the digital sphere, some designers are finding ways to retrofit analog devices for added connectivity. A tiny wearable allows unconnected watches to link up with a user’s smartphone, and in Brazil old street telephones have been converted into real-time bus arrival information points. How else are new designs and materials improving much-loved analog products and processes?



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