Today the Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders is marveling at one of the tiniest cameras we’ve ever seen. Ryan Howerter, a graphic design student at Colorado State University, created a functional pinhole camera using a single 2x2 stud LEGO brick. He was inspired to try turning a LEGO brick into a camera after learning about an even tinier pinhole camera made out of a single pine nut.
“Being a fan of Lego bricks, I had to carry this idea to its logical conclusion,” he told CNET. And that’s just what he did.
Howerter specifically selected a black LEGO brick as the most suitable color to block out light. After hollowing out the brick, he inserted a piece of brass shim stock with a pinhole poked through it and covered the bottom of the brick with black tape. Then he placed an itty-bitty piece of photo paper inside the brick, resting against the back, and exposed and processed it to create an incredibly small photo of a tree on the CSU campus, the very same photo the minifig is holding in the photos above.
“The most challenging part is definitely trying to get an actual photo out of it. It’s far too easy to over or underexpose the paper or film. I think it was about a 10-second exposure for the one held by the minifig,” Howerter says. He’s still trying to get a workable negative from the brick camera due to the difficulty of processing such a small piece of film.