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When Polaroid shut down production of their trademark instant film in 2008, it effectively left 300 million functioning Polaroid cameras utterly useless. Which is where the Impossible Project stepped in. Founded by 10 former Polaroid employees in Holland, the Impossible Project saved the last Polaroid instant-film factory from shutting down and set out to recreate the film from scratch. With that accomplished, they then began looking for ways to bring the iconic Polaroid look into the age of smartphone cameras, and so the idea for The Impossible Instant Lab was born.

By setting your smartphone into the cradle on top of the Lab, and using the Impossible app to expose an image onto instant film in the cartridge below, you can create instant photos just like back in Polaroid’s heyday — for you to watch develop right before your eyes.

While the Lab is still in development, it promises to be compatible with iPhones 4 and 5 and Android smartphones, and will work with instant film for Polaroid 600 and SX 70 camera models.

Money for the development of the Lab has been raised through the crowdfunding websites Kickstarter and Campfire (in Japan). Pre-orders on Kickstarter have just closed, but the campaign on the Japanese site ( is still on until Oct.13, where those who pledge can receive a discount off the ¥25,000 price tag when The Impossible Instant Lab comes to market next year.

Source: Extract from Japan Times article “TECH_JAPAN TOYS: Three new toys look back to the analog days” by Jess Mantell