People do show-and-tell using the photos on their phone every day. They sit next to someone and talk them through photos. This show-and-tell is one of our most primal ways of communicating or learning from each other. Two people looking at the same thing, one of them talking and pointing, and the other person looking but mostly listening. It’s so basic we don’t realize how frequently we do it.
It’s strange, but there’s no easy way to record that experience. We wanted to make it easy to record that show-and-tell — you just talking through your photos — so you could share it with someone who couldn’t be there. We added a few features like being able to zoom and point, just enough to mimic what you’d be able to do if you were together.
The results surprised us, recordings captured the experience far better than a video. You’d watch one of these recordings and get the weird sense you were actually with the person. When very young kids made these — for example, they would talk through a picture they drew — you could feel more of their personality coming through. People would talk through photos from a weekend trip and you’d get a deeper impression of visiting the place. And when a science teacher used it to explain how a turtle’s shell is similar to scales, the ideas were clearer and more memorable. Not only did you get a better sense of the person, the recording was a new way to understand complex things.
With Shadow Puppet it’s easy to make something great. Walking someone through the photos on your phone is already a familiar experience and recording a puppet will probably feel as intuitive. We’ve seen people who would normally never make a video or publish to a blog create remarkable puppets. You’re already pretty good at this kind of show-and-tell, so take out your phone, find a few photos, and make your first puppet for someone.
Carl Sjogreen and Adrian Graham