Hello everyone and thank you for reaching this website. My name is Arno Peever, mechanical engineer coming from Tallinn Estonia. In this first post I try to briefly explain how this project has evolved so far and what are the future goals, so lets dive into it.
AGO is a result of my master studies at TeleTech university curriculum Design and Technology Futures. Aim of this work was to understand current situation and value of analog photography, also to come up with some meaningful solution which will contribute to revival of analog photography. The research followed design thinking principles and consisted of interviews with different stakeholders, literature review ranging from topics to understand current paradigm of analog photography to process specific materials and a survey which gave scale to different problems identified. Result of this work is concept and a prototype called AGO film processor.
Pretty fast it got clear that film developing side isn´t doing really good at a moment. From one side equipment used in labs are soon to be end of their service life and since highly productive C-41 processors like Noritsu and Kodak Minilab are not produced anymore it is clear that analog photography as a whole is soon to face a problem. Other common way to develop negatives is doing it at home. As it is cheaper, that you can control end result and also dive deeper to analog photography world- many chose this way to develop their film. After some interviews, literature research, developing some rolls of my own film it got clear that most doable solution in the timeframe of this theses would be some solution for home users.
When starting to ideate about the processor concept some principles start to led this development process. First was that device should eliminate most annoying parts of the process and the same time be affordable, foremost it eliminates manual agitation, there comes also the name, AGO which stands for agitation. Second principle was that the device should make it possible to develop B&W, C-41 and even E-6 at home, as B&W is mostly done at home then last two are predominantly done at lab, mostly because of the need for temperature-controlled environment. Third principle was that it should adapt to current infrastructure what users already have at home, this potentially will boost the adoption and the cost of implementing this solution to current workflows.
As the feedback after fist prototype was positive I decided to go forward and start to work towards Kickstarter campaign. Current idea is to do it around April 2022. To do that successfully many different pits and pieces must come together. So far most of the work has gone under constructing totally new model of the processor which is injection moldable and figuring out the price of all the components goin into this device. On the background one of my friend Hu is preparing us a PCB, this is step towards mass production as at a moment we use ESP32 development board. My brother Ahto is working with financials and with CE marking. Another thing what is out our my hands is C++ programming, this happens in India. Currently they are working on time compensation algorithm for B&W process. This function is what I haven’t seen on other devices so far. The idea is that in real time, time is compensated according to temperature change followed by line equations. Meaning user doesn’t have to follow the temperature so precisely and temperature drop during the process is also compensated. While some chemical producers give their times at different temperatures we still need to test each process out. So probably we need soon one densitometer to validate development at different temperatures.
Next steps will be mostly user testing to validate some parts of the concept and building a community to spread the word of this solution and be strong during the crowdfunding campaign. If you are living close to Estonia and are interested of testing it out we will soon need some beta testers, you can write me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the progress briefly so far, in this blog I´´ ll try to keep you informed and if you have some questions feel free to do so in the comment section, in the end maybe we will come up with something which would benefit us all.