New 3MP camera assembly kit from Bigshot designed to teach children about photography and engineering

Image: An inside view of an assembled Bigshot camera

A new teaching tool for young snappers has arrived – Bigshot, a build-your-own digital camera designed to get young people enthused about photography.

The camera kit is delivered in pieces which must be assembled in the correct order, with an online tutorial for guidance and explanation of the science. Once it’s put together, the user has a fully functioning 3MP compact camera on their hands.

Image: The complete Bigshot kit

Bigshot comes with a few unique features that the manufacturers hope will make it appeal to children. One is what the makers refer to as a ‘Swiss army lens’, which provides several different lens types on a single rotating wheel, from regular to panoramic and even 3D ( the kit comes with a set of anaglyphic cardboard glasses).

Image: The front view of Bigshot; note the rotating lens wheel

Another clever twist is the battery hand crank, which allows the user to manually provide a little extra juice when on the move.

Bigshot was created by Professor Shree Nayar and the Computer Science department at Columbia University, with a little funding help from Google and the US Department of Defense.

While the camera is only currently on commercial release in the US, Nayar plans to provide it to underprivileged children around the globe. Prototypes have already been trialled in schools in India, Japan and Vietnam, and the feedback gained was used to fine-tune the design

Image: Schoolchildren try their hands at assembling Bigshot

Nayar said to the BBC: ‘I see it as an experience which includes learning-by-building, then using for photography and finally sharing your pictures with kids from other communities – it’s that entire experience.’

The Bigshot site promises that international sales are ‘coming soon’. To take a look for yourself, visit