Periscope: A camera that uses a periscope lens

Hey everyone! I recently completed this personal project and was hoping to get your feedback and critiques.

Here’s the link to the project: Periscope



You display some solid process and skills here in this project. I appreciate the single handed operation problem statement. However, your ideas of how this will integrate with existing behaviors is not yet well developed. There is a whole data set of testing that will be required with products like this due to the google glass project’s failure to become mainstream among others. The pointing and capturing of one images has become a mature social category for design. Perhaps identifying a few particular use case scenarios where the features really improve or benefit the activity is in order? Addressing any abuse scenarios will also help you round out and broaden your solution. Your prototyping skillset is impressive for someone who appears to have just entered the tertiary level of education. Did you work with any others to help you with this project?

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Full disclosure, I know Ilan. He was a student last year in Offsite Cohort 01, I teach in Cohort 02, and we met in person for a coffee. I’lan sent this project to me and I asked him to post it here for feedback from a wider group of professionals.

For reference, this is some of the feedback I sent to Ilan. Like @designbreathing said, I think this this is really advanced work for someone just starting their design career. I have a bunch of nitpicky things that I think could advance it or just might be food for thought. Take what you want @ilan_farahi and discard what doesn’t work… that nature of feedback is there will always be a surplus of it :rofl:… how you edit, synthesize, and implement that feedback is the real trick.

  1. Intro slide, I’d show more of the product. Is this cropped block of aluminum the image that is going to make me want to scroll more? A few thoughts on dust and scratches in renders: in my experience clients don’t want to see all these fancy bump maps, they will say “why did you make my product look old?”. Think of it from their point of view…. They just paid you $40,000 to design their beautiful new product and you spent their time and money to intentionally make it look used, they will want that money back :slight_smile:

  2. I’d combine the question slide and the intro slide, get to your design work faster, less scrolling. The question format of a problem statement I’ve seen a lot in design student portfolios. That isn’t how we typically frame a problem statement in the industry. Usually it will be more about the person and what they need. Can this be framed more to include a user’s problem?

  3. I recommend to combine the periscope intro with the graphics explaining the periscope tech just to get to the work faster.

  1. AI form exploration… does this add anything? Did you need AI to tell you to make a rectangle with rounded corners? As the hiring manager should I just not hire a junior designer and use midjourney myself then?(Sorry to be so blunt, but these are the kinds of questions a creative director might ask, I’ve gotten some pretty difficult questions over the years, sometimes they just try to throw you off).

  1. Are those your rough sketches? They are labeled as mid journey?

  1. Playfully serious image board, very nice, I feel like the final result could reflect this image board more. Not getting the playful aspect in the final. Looks more just serious. I’d try more fun color blockings like the woman’s outfit, sneaker, or what looks like maybe a lighter? How about some texture changes?

  1. Ideation sketches…. I had to scroll a long way to finally see your design work

  1. Little sketch models are great. Usually when we make sketch models like this there will be much more variety. Prototype different things vs 20 versions of the same thing.

  2. Animation, again the scratches are very distracting

  3. Final renders…. All the dust and scratches… yikes! As a creative director I wold not be able to show any of these to a client or if I was in house having to present to sales and marketing, they would just find all of that so distracting. We are not trying to make it look real, we are trying to make it look better than real. We are focussing on communicating the idea of the product, not fooling someone into believing it is real, save that for the marketing renders that will happen 10 months later.

  4. Overall the product looks very slippery and seems to be missing the kinds of textures and grips that would make it feel safer and more pleasant. When something is this simple, every detail matters a lot, I’d make the radii on the lens and the flash (?) below it match up or integrate them so they talk to each other more. How about a lanyard so someone can secure this to their wrist? Pretty standard in the camera world.

  5. Internals look very specific. When I see these from designers I know it is pretty made up. I would generalize it a little more just to explain the concept but if you show this to an engineer they are going to start asking questions about the 3 PC boards and what capacitors are those etc…

Those are my overall thoughts. Again, very good work! I think 10% more polish on the design could make it sing. Less time rendering dust and scratches bitmaps and more time iterating and refining the details. Below is a redline of a few things that could push it further. You could iterate on these details I redlined an infinite number of ways.

@IDiot @cg1 @engelhjs @FoundryCollaborative @hectorsilvajr @holtag @iab @louis_leblanc @Mr-914 @pjbowers @thecuster86 @thedinomeister @jamesowendesign @jon_winebrenner curious what your thoughts might be?

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This is a fun project. I really like all of it. I do have some feedback ideas below.

I like a lot of @_YO 's comments.

Two that stand out for me, that I would echo are

  1. In ideation, I want to see variety. I want to see that a designer can create a ton of solutions and provide options to discuss and discern as a team. I worry a bit if it appears like their first idea was the only thing considered. What if it twists, or you squeeze, or you pinch, or you steer with a finger joystick, or what if______. You might stick with this slider but can you think beyond?

  2. Love the feedback on the scratch details in the render. There is certainly a place for showing off these skills, but looking at it from a clients perspective is essentially looking at it from a creative director/hiring managers perspective and excellent next level feedback.

I would add to those points, two things. 3) Sketching details could improve and/or at least get larger so I can see what your thoughts are. Maybe this solves the ideation feedback from earlier! Maybe you did think about a bunch of solutions and we are just missing it :slight_smile: 4) This is graphically nitpicky, but can it please read like a website vs a book forced onto a website?

Love the product, your solution and your renders. Very nice stuff!


Very very thorough overall and engaging to look at.
As a hiring manager, I’m still not convinced of seeing native mid journey output featuring prominently in a portfolio, or moodboards featuring prominently unless paired next to concept implementation or as a key method in translating market to concept.


I think @_YO makes a bunch of great points. One I haven’t seen come up is the human aspect of the design. For example - why is this camera using this lens technology? what does it get the customer? what are the benefits of this design over another option?

I think this user story is one of the things I keep stressing at work and keep stressing to people in portfolio reviews.

If we don’t know the WHY behind the product - it becomes just a form and interaction exercise (which is fine for portfolios - but to me just way less intriguing to a hiring manager)

To that point - further building on others - the AI stuff had me super interested at first - but I couldn’t directly apply what that exploration got you to the final form. What key things were you looking for inspiration or explanation of? What were your take away learnings from the exploration? Did it help or hinder your further form development?

all that to say - this is GOOD work; but the why will help push it that last 10%!


Sorry, running out the door as I type, so not as much time as I’d like to give, overall impressive for where you are at in your ID journey, but I do have lots of crits.

When showing Midjourney, like other explorations, give us some context, what were you exploring, what were you trying to understand, what were your prompts, how did you filter or evaluate outputs, did that impact later inputs, did you make any interesting/surprising learnings, etc… I HATE when aspects of process are presented like a box being checked and no more. Tell why you did it, tell us what you did, tell us what you learned.

Overall, the process is competent, but the outcome is not inspiring.
The tiny foldable screen seems like so much extra (technology/manufacturing etc.) work for such a miniscule return. Is this really the best way to solve for the problem given the screen size to handle size relationship? How did you arrive at this screen size? Is this solution REALLY that much more compact, or is it merely a different form factor?

Why did you CNC this out of 6061 AL? Did you learn anything you woudln’t have otherwise?
Many of the details (the slide to zoome in particuluar) seem to large and unrefined for the level of execution you are looking for in the folding display. The front of the handle is really lacking in humanity for me, it looks like what a machinist would arrive at, and not in a good way.

The scratches are fairly unrealistic, probably not representative, and distract more than they add, get rid of them.

Look forward to seeing updates or more work.


Hi @designbreathing. I like your point on presenting particular use case scenarios. When I first started this project, the camera was meant for astronauts (especially those who will settle on Mars in the distant future). I came to the conclusion that there would be much better ways for future astronauts to take pictures and video; cameras could be built into the suit, for example, making it hands-free. I really enjoyed the idea of the periscope, so I pivoted. I started to think of scenarios where Gen Z and millennials would want an easy-to-carry camera and hold something else in the other hand (like a phone or drink). Scenarios like festivals, amusement parks, or casual outings. I agree that addressing these use case scenarios would be very helpful.

I got help learning how to use the CNC and setting up some of the photos. Other than that, it was my own doing.

Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks again, Michael!

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Appreciate the feedback @pjbowers! From your comments and many others, I realize that getting in the mindset of looking through the client’s lens will improve so many different aspects of the project. Definitely now a goal of mine to explore more ideas in the beginning, while also sketching them as if I was showing them to a client.

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Thank you, @slippyfish! With this project, I really wanted to explore the power of midjourney if I did not have any set design language in the first place. Starting from a clean slate. Slowly, as I started pumping out images, new ideas started popping into my head and influenced the final design. I think I can do a better job of communicating how MJ images translated into the final design. Its still tricky to tell if MJ will be a good tool in the future. While it definitely assisted, I discarded probably 3/4 of its images. A decent amount of time discarded as well. Maybe it just takes more practice creating prompts??

Hey @thecuster86! Couldn’t agree more with your comments about the WHY. Answering this question and including use case scenarios would really elevate the project.

I mentioned some thoughts on the AI stuff in another reply:

With this project, I really wanted to explore the power of midjourney if I did not have any set design language in the first place. Starting from a clean slate. Slowly, as I started pumping out images, new ideas started popping into my head and influenced the final design. I think I can do a better job of communicating how MJ images translated into the final design. Its still tricky to tell if MJ will be a good tool in the future. While it definitely assisted, I discarded probably 3/4 of its images. A decent amount of time discarded as well. Maybe it just takes more practice creating prompts??

Thanks for the feedback!

Love the feedback, @IDiot! Thanks for calling attention to the CNC part. I do not think doing this was necessary for the project. I mainly wanted the opportunity to learn how a product could be milled with the CNC; I started to think more about parting lines, and radii from ball end-mills, the number of reorientations in order to mill it, etc.

Will think about these points in the meantime. Updates to come…

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I get it, that makes sense.
What’s curious or interesting about the inclusion of AI generated images in design case studies are the ‘cognitive dissonance’ (for lack of a better term for now) in seeing what appear to be nearly completed product renders, at an early phase of concept generation. Bill Buxton had this rule where sketch/model fidelity ought to align with the stage of idea development (I’m butchering the exact statement but that’s the general idea). What the MJ ‘sketches’ do is throw that notion on its head, which brings me to something else I’m curious about.
Given that familiarity with text-to-image AI tools might become a ‘mandatory’ skillset for designers, how might they be integrated to a case study or portfolio? I’d assert that mimicking a ‘sketch page’ similar to how you’ve done might not be the best way. Should the text prompts also be included, or could one show the evolution of the text prompts? Could the designer critique the better MJ images with redlines, “this works, this is stupid, this is different” and so forth? Are a few images preferable to dozens? It kind of becomes a mini-project within the project!


I’ll try not to reiterate too many of the pros and cons many of the previous commenters brought up. Mainly I’d sum up my feedback as great execution but poor problem solving.

First of all, props on taking on a project with an insane degree of difficulty. I’m always game for someone to take on the physical UX of cameras because I generally think the solutions we have suck. It’s a product and an experience that we know well, have used in basically the same form for decades, and have a ton of nostalgia for, but it’s not particularly intuitive or easy to use, in my opinion. That said, there are biases around photography and cameras so deeply ingrained into our culture that if you’re going to do something new, it had better be such an obvious improvement over what people are used to that they’re compelled to switch behavior patterns that have existed for generations. That’s really, really hard. Well done attempting to tackle such a hard project.

My main critique would be that I was really confused on the problem that the solution, while beautiful, was solving. Given the chunky form factor, simple controls, etc. the project makes much more sense knowing it began as a tool for astronauts. All of those solutions make sense given the problems users would face while wearing cumbersome space suits in harsh, off-world environments.

Unfortunately when you pivoted to a different user, in a different environment, with drastically different needs and tools at their disposal it seems like you neglected the necessary step of reevaluating the problems you’re trying to solve. Everyone these days has a perfectly capable camera in there pocket, and they’re not going anywhere any time soon. For those users opting for an additional, non-phone camera what makes this solution so demonstrably better than the standard point-and-shoot, SLR, mirrorless, etc. that it would compel these users to opt for this new solution in lieu of a product they’re perfectly happy using as-is?

Something I try to hammer home with young designers is that if you don’t first understand the problem you’re solving it makes no difference the solution you come up with. An elegant solution to the wrong problem is still the wrong solution. You obviously have some great skills at your disposal on the elegance side of things. Just make sure you spend as much time on the problem solving.


Thanks for saying this. I’m saving this comment so I remember to think more about the problem-solving for my future projects. I’m definitely going to address this more.

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@ilan_farahi making any adjustments based on the feedback? I know there was a lot to sift through, but some good insights here for sure!

100%. I’ve been planning out how to attack new iterations (basically a Periscope v2) and thoughts have been running through my head. Will post it back on the forums when complete!


That is great to hear. Feel free to use the discussion forum as a sounding board. You can post iterations before you are done for feedback.


Looks sexy.

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