A Brief History of Infinite Objects

A look back at the genesis of Infinite Objects.

Today we are officially launching Infinite Objects alongside a collaboration with Rhizome and a reception at the New Museum. The New Museum Store is now carrying the Rhizome-curated collection, and our IO Video Shop and site is also live, featuring pieces from 11 artists, co-curated in part by Daata Editions and Transfer Gallery. This has been over 18 months in the making, so I’d love to step back and tell the story of how we got here and where we’re going.

Back in 2017, I was working at Planeta, a small product R&D studio, building a variety of web apps, mobile experiences, and a handful of hardware concepts. In particular, I was leading the development of a few consumer hardware experiments with our long-time partner GIPHY. Our mandate was to experiment with how GIFs are created and consumed outside of your phone. The first thing we developed was a camera.

What would a disposable camera look and feel like if it captured GIFs? How do intentional limitations in a product’s feature-set change our relationship with that product?

three different gif-making camera prototypes

Our answer to that was as unusual as the premise. The GIPHY Camera featured a 1080p camera with a single button and a 7-segment display showing how many captures were remaining. No screen, no zoom, no frills. Just an analog viewfinder, a button that triggered a haptic “clacker” (a sound reminiscent of a 35mm camera), and some retro-LED animations. Your GIFs could be pulled via USB or a mobile app over bluetooth.

Next, we decided to experiment around how we consume the amazing captures coming from our cameras. Again, something outside of our phones or laptops, something personal, tangible, and magical.

three different gif display prototypes

Inspired by the classic form factor of the Polaroid photograph, the GIPHY Frame prototype features a sub-millimeter thin, HD resolution OLED display that cycles through GIFs when you shake it. The entire device was about 2mm thick and had a dock for charging and data updating. These prototypes nailed the magical element of “holding” a moving image, and instantly we knew we were on to something.

It was at this point in Spring 2018 that we decided we should start a new company altogether and properly explore how creating physical expressions for digital content could redefine how we sell, buy, experience, and value video content.

Thus was born Infinite Objects, Inc.

Read about where we are today and where we’re going in our Launch Announcement Post. And a massive shout out to our product design partner Tomorrow Lab who worked on both the GIPHY projects mentioned above.

— Joe Saavedra, Founder & CEO