Being a parent for the first time is an experience which overloads every sense and challenges every faculty. This powerful experience is something which parents love to record, share and reminisce upon in later years. But because children and babies are spontaneous and surprising the funniest moments are often missed.

RetroCam caters to all those moments when parents exclaim “Quick! Where’s the camera?”. A beautiful, ambient device, the RetroCam sits quietly in whichever household context you are most likely to miss one of those magic moments.

The distinctive difference between RetroCam and a normal camera is that it gives users the opportunity to save memorable moments that have already passed. When the camera is touched, it saves footage from the previous minute. Always on, when that hilarious expression, gesture or first word happens, a simple “touch and stroke” gesture on the back surface of the device immortalises the memory in a beautifully graded video.

RetroCam recordings are for parents, and for close family and friends of the child. In order to facilitate safe sharing of these memories clips from each camera are saved to a cloud and accessible from anywhere. Distant, or not so distant family and friends can be invited to browse, share parents’ experience and watch baby grow.

The RetroCam device can record up to 1.5 minutes back in time. When that magic moment occurs, the stroke gesture with which a clip is saved serves also as real-time editing. A short stroke will go only thirty seconds back in time, longer will save one full minute while a stroke along the entire back of the device saves the full minute and a half. Subtle lights on the front and rear blink to indicate how much footage is being captured.

As a result of a 4 1/2 week Tangible User Interface course, our working prototype combines explorations in user-research, interaction, product design, embedded electronics and programming.