Nikon’s Heartography is a camera system for dogs

Grizzler keeping it real.
Grizzler, the first “phodographer,” poses for the camera. Photo: Courtesy of Nikon

Many a man has made money pointing his camera lens at his best friend. William Wegman even made a career out of it. But finally, thanks to new technology from Nikon, wordless essays worth a thousand words have gone to the dogs.

Translation: Nikon just created a photography system for use by canines. It's called Heartography.

Here's how it works: A brace dubbed the Heartography SmartCase holds a digital Nikon camera, the Coolpix L31, and attaches to the dog. Enabled with Bluetooth, the case is connected to an included heart-rate monitor. When the pooch gets excited and its heart rate exceeds a predetermined baseline (usually about 120 bpm), a servo contained in the Heartography SmartCase is triggered, depressing the camera's shutter, autofocusing the L31 in the process and snapping the photo when everything is crystal clear.

Although there's no app that frees up 93.6 percent of the Coolpix's SD card by automatically deleting close-ups of dog butts, that technology is hopefully forthcoming.

heartography how

Tools to turn your pooch into the pupperazzi aren't exactly new; GoPro has a harness for dogs and there are also collars with cameras. But both of these products lack the sophistication of Heartography. You'll have to wade through all the video, but that might be worth it if your pooch is anything like the cat that belongs to Superchunk's bass player: The feline's awesome day-in-the-life antics were captured in the "Crossed Wires" video (the vid earns extra points for being directed by OG snowboard video god Whitey McConnaughy.)

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The Heartography SmartCase also has a display that shows the dog's heart rate. Nikon hasn't released any info about whether they plan on bringing this system to market, but we're guessing they're not. Instead, the product is a very rad and very time-intensive marketing tool that supports their slogan, "At the heart of the image."

Heartography case.
The Heartography case that includes a servo to push the shutter button. Photo: Courtesy of Nikon

Still, we'd still like to see Nikon give one of these Heartography setups to Wegman's dogs so they can finally turn the tables on the venerable old photog. And with any luck, Nikon's "phodographer," Grizzler, will receive some technology he'd really enjoy: one of those Odorama scratch-and-sniff cards produced for an old John Waters film.

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