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The Touching Booth

The Touching Booth: The Flirt, a photo by geekphysical on Flickr.

Have you ever felt that spark of true love when you kissed someone for the first time? Wouldn't it be great if you could have recorded it for posterity? Well in the future that spark of electricity might just take the photo itself!

Photo booths can be boring don't-smile-you-are-getting-your-passport-photo-done. Or they can be playful places where as many friends as possible jam into the tiny space. GeekPhysical, a Danish group who like to play with physical computing, electronics and sensors to create new, often whacky ways for people to interact, decided to reinvent it to be as playful as possible.

The result was 'The Touching Booth'. It consists of two chairs set up facing each other. Rather than press a button to take the photo, the two people just touch. They could be shaking hands, giving a high five, kissing or making any other kind of contact come to that. The touch closes an electronic circuit that runs from the camera to the first chair, through the person sitting on it to the other person on through their chair and back to the camera. When there is no contact the circuit is broken so no photo, but as soon as they touch the electricity really flows, firing the camera. Surprised that a person can be part of a circuit? We actually aren't that bad conductors as it happens! That's why electricity is so dangerous, and why you shouldn't try this at home! The result in the touching booth is a photo taken of the moment of the touch.

The two people are a giant electronic switch.

To add an extra twist of mischievous fun, though, GeekPhysical decided to have the touch only take a photo of one half of the scene. The other half is taken on the second touch. That means people can have fun playing with the possibilities, touching in different ways or even swapping people between the two touches. If you have a touch of narcissism you could even take a photo of you apparently kissing yourself!

So if you happen to be in a bar in the future and the Touching Booth is there, give it a go. Who knows that spark of electricity with a complete stranger might break the ice and lead to something special. If it does you will even have the photo of the moment it happened for your album!

See the Touching Booth in action.