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Blog > What does a trip through the mail look like?

In theory, we all know what happens when something goes through the mail: it is picked up, put in crates and boxes, gets sorted more or less automatically, and is finally delivered by the hands of the local mail carrier. If you’ve ever seen a mail sorting center before, you know that there are hundreds of meters of conveyor belts involved, and all sorts of complicated sorting machines… but what does it look like from a “parcel’s perspective”? How many people touch it? How long does it sit around just… waiting?

Designer Ruben van der Vleuten wondered about these things, and instead of sitting still, he came up with a simple solution to solve this mistery: a camera, hidden inside a parcel!

From A to B

Inside the parcel there’s also a small Arduino circuit, with a timer which tells the camera to film more when the package is moving, and less when it is stopped. The result is the amazing video below:



Pretty neat, huh? Check out Ruben’s page, to see what the parcel looked like from the inside! :)

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38 comments so far

witchieofstars, United Kingdom
This is amazing! I really really loved it. As a project it sounds cool but when you watch it you really feel the excitement and joy! Fascinating! Really!
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Bestgirl, Austria
How amazing is that!!!!
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Funtom, Austria
What a great idea! :-)
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Kikidi, Germany
thanks for sharing!
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tamstertje1989, Netherlands
Haha how awesome. Thanks for making this.
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penangcrosser, Malaysia
LOL! A spy camera put to good use!
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nisnoopy3, Malaysia
Oh my! A CCTV camera inside the parcel. Even the postman have to be cautious of people recoding them at work.. LOL! XD
But I like it! Wonderful job! Thank you for sharing this video with us! :D
How about starting an international journey? Like sending to Germany or somewhere in Asia? I would like to see this! :D

Thank you! XD
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Forestchapel80, Netherlands
An international journey with a camera in a parcel... good idea!!! Maybe its even possible to find the 'big black hole' that way. ( the secret place were all our lost postcards are hidden :-) )
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YITICH, Taiwan
Is amazing things to see that~
How about the Air Mail?
The same way?
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LinCheng-Yi, Taiwan
Unfortunately, the camera can't hidden in the postcard.
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justM, United States of America
This is a cool idea, and it was fortunate that the package was facing outward to see more of behind-the-scenes. Thank you for sharing this. I always wondered about the process.
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Nells250, United States of America
That is great! A LOT of editing involved!
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Arieth, Netherlands
Wow! I love it!
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nesrink, Turkey
I have always wanted to see how things worked for a parcel:)
Thanks for the great idea.
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DanielleSabine, Netherlands
That is so cool!!
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Trios, Netherlands
What a great idea! But the film is a bit too flashy for my taste I'm afraid. My old brain can't keep up with that kind of speed. ;-)
Fortunately I've been working in a mail sorting center in the Netherlands until 6 years ago, so it's kind of familiar.
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texasdreamer, United States of America
Very cool! I loved it! :)
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Blogger, United States of America
very fun - thanks for posting this :D
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InTheDoghouse, United States of America
This is great!
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sabescan, Malaysia
fun thing :)
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Nordbaer, Germany
wonderful idea!
:)
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shammy, Canada
That is fascinating! Amazing the parcel kept on filming as there was some rough treatment along the way.
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Alison_Machado, Brazil
Very cool!!
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Gemini17, Netherlands
This is great!!
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Duesseljin, Germany
Great! Thanks for sharing
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Mimi1986, Belgium
Awesome! Thank you, Ruben. How wonderful. Now we know what happens with our lovely postcards.
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Hopsi61, Germany
Very nice! A new project would be to catch the people who steal the stamps of our postcards! ...
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cspt, United States of America
Totally love this project in so many ways! Not only is it a fascinating view of the postal system, but I was intrigued by how it gave me the impression the package was ALIVE, like a pet being shipped or traveling on an airline. Amazing how one associates the ability to SEE with the ability to be a sentient being.

Anyone who enjoyed this video might enjoy visiting the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, USA. If you can't physically visit, try a virtual visit: http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibits/

The exhibit most closely related to Ruben's video is the permanent show called Systems at Work: http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/systemsatwork/index.html

You can also visit that particular exhibit virtually, so try it out!

Pax et bonum,

Carol in Maryland, USA
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nugget, United States of America
Fun to watch! Thanks, Ruben!
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Sprinkledonut, Canada
Awesome idea and video, Ruben. Thanks for sharing with us!
@Forestchapel80 - Hahaha! That's funny. : )
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donttelltheboss, United States of America
This is so neat! What a fun idea. Thank you for creating and sharing!
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Tyskai, Netherlands
Wonderful :) We should try it ourself ^^ Maybe with very small cameras on our postcards ^^ then they will never get lost again!
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islander61, Bahamas
I live in the BAHAMAS just a 30-minute flight from the Florida coast of the USA. Don't know if it's because of my location or because we're always hearing news of threats of terrorism/attacks etc. and airport searches, but the first thing that went through my mind was, this was kinda scary that such a package could be sent through the mail. I'm sure it probably wasn't that easy and he had co-operation to do it etc. But all I could think of was how if someone had noticed the camera hole and then the police and/or bomb squad had to be called in etc. Just my view from a different experience, I guess. Was interesting though.
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jjmedusa, United States of America
islander61, my thoughts exactly. When I went to Ruben van der Vleuten's web site & saw inside the package, anyone who X-ray'ed it might think it was a bomb. I think it's cool to see behind the scenes, but I don't think this was a very smart idea. Also, what country's postal system did this package go through?
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SamCee, Canada
Well done!! Bravo, what a wonderful thing to experience. It makes you appreciate your mail even more....Bravo :o)
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Leopold, Uganda
Truly innovative and interesting !!!
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@islander61 @medusa242 the designer mentioned in an interview that he had to send the package a few times through the mail until everything worked properly, and every time he did it, he was a bit nervous.

the country seems like denmark.
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HM, Netherlands
This is exactly what I always wanted to know!

Nice project, worked out well. A lot of machines, but still also real persons handing over our precious mail.
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