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(first copy of this idea got lost somehow)
The route to my workplace means that I now walk past the Tower of London twice a day, an area which is teeming with tourists at this time of year. Most of these tourists are taking pictures of each other in front of the Tower. Leaving aside, for the moment,
what a monumental waste of film this is (and subsequent staggering number of bad pictures of smiling, centre-frame tourists in front of inanimate background objects) these tourists often have difficulty with a place to put their camera when taking self-timer shots and I would like to help them (Got to be nice to tourists, as they represent (along with "Financial Services") most of the UK economy).
So, my idea is to put on the top of every 100th railing a small ball-jointed tripod screw-thread. Tourists can quickly attach their camera, position it and take a picture.
Also suitable for other tourist areas, bus stops, post boxes, policemens' helmets etc. Optimum railings and other fixed structures could be chosen by a professional photographer.
A pocket tripod for a pocket camera that can attach itself to railings. And has a simply excellent name besides. [DrCurry, Feb 23 2006]
(?) eight years later
a rather pedestrian over engineered implementation [neilp, Aug 22 2010]
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||[angel] annotated the first copy of this idea thus: "Good one, not just because it helps tourists.
<aside>I have an old (1950s) issue of Popular Mechanics or suchlike which includes plans for a tripod which can fit in a pocket. Its means of support is a four-inch spike, which is intended to be stuck into a tree.</aside>"
||Convenient, but yet I wonder if anyone would ever think of a misuse for automaton hands that can grip and press your button?
||PS, I have a retractible pocket spike, and it's pretty useful on horizontal surfaces above the ground, as well as the floor itself. But it requires the presence of another party...
||RS: <realgenius> ah, but can you drive a six-inch pocket spike through a board? A girl's gotta have her standards. </realgenius>
||I like the fact that many pictures would be taken from the same place over time. For historical interest and all that.
||can we record the exact latitude and longitude on a little note nearby, so people can upload them to flickr ?
||It would also make cameras just slightly harder to steal. The thief would need to unscrew it first.