The Shutterring project aims to make smart doorbells more responsible by ensuring the privacy of bypassers and owners while keeping the main functionality of the device intact.
© Daan Rozinga

Smart doorbells are like a security camera's, but available for everyone. Always on, and owned by private parties, the smart doorbell is destined to have an impact on our privacy. As of now, there could be thousands of smart doorbells in Amsterdam, filming public space. We don t have a clear view on the numbers, and we do not know what the owners do with the collected data.

Ring View
Doorbell view

In the city of Amsterdam there are 99 camera’s per square kilometer. The Rijksoverheid reports that of the estimated 1.5 million camera’s recording in public space in the Netherlands, only 2% are owned by the authorities, the rest are black boxes. As citizens and good neighbors, we ought to have an opinion on all this observation.”

— Tom van Arman, Smart City Strategist & Future City Maker, Tapp
220610 Ams Responsiblesensinglab Producten Si 84
© Sanne Couprie
220610 Ams Responsiblesensinglab Producten Si 79
© Sanne Couprie

Smart doorbell owners are often not aware of the privacy issues. A major smart doorbell company states that its mission is to reduce crime in neighborhoods and claim that owners of their doorbell often experience a feeling of safety.

But owners of a smart doorbells are not the ones affected: the recording of public space is everyone's problem. Placing a Shutterring over a smart doorbell makes it just a smart doorbell again.

With Shutterring we try to both criticize the unlawful filming of public space by data hungry tech companies, while on the other hand offer owners of a video doorbell a simple way to be compliant and retaining the primary function of their doorbell.”

— Marcel Schouwenaar, designer and creative director, The Incredible Machine
220610 Ams Werkbezoekdigitalezaken Si 066
Coen presents Shutterring at the Arcam exhibition
© Sanne Couprie

Webcam cover

Comparable to a webcam cover, doorcallers slide up the Shutterring to ring the door, making themselves shortly visible. The diffuse filter shuts off all that the smart doorbell should not see, like the videocalling filter that blurs the background of the person in front of the camera. Thus, only the person in front of the camera is visible.

Shutterring is a design by the Incredible Machine.

Shuttering Bewerkt
View of a smart doorbell with Shutterring
© Daan Rozinga

Both Shutterring and Shuttercam (or other shutter project) have been exhibited within the Dutch Design Week program Up Close & Personal. Read more about it here.

220610 Ams Responsiblesensinglab Producten Si 77
© Sanne Couprie
220610 Ams Responsiblesensinglab Producten Si 78
© Sanne Couprie

Make your own Shutterring in 4 steps

Only compatible with Ring video doorbell 2nd generation

Step 1: Download Shuttering Files

To 3D print and assemble your own Shutterring, download the .ZIP file containing two .STL files (Base and Slider).


Step 2: Instructions for assembly

Necessary for assembling your own Shutterring:

  • 3D Printer
  • Printing software (we use Ultimaker Cura)
  • Glue
  • Double-sided tape

Download the .STL files and load them into your software. Place the models as shown in the image below, generate supports and print in the color your prefer.

Place the models like this

Step 3: Make your camera cover

The transparant screen is used to cover the camera. In the Shuttering, a square made from perspex and window mesh is used. There are 2 ways to make the cover.

I am the prowd owner of a lasercutter and perspex

Cut out a square of 25x25 mm out of 3 mm thick perex. If you want to go the extra mile, stick some window mesh onto your perpex to get the transparency right.

I do not own a lasercutter

Tracing paper, magic tap or some other transparent material will do the job. Glue them onto the sliding part of the Shutterring, in the cut-out square. Make sure that it stays on!

Step 4: Glue and sticker the parts together

Slide the slider in the base
Glue in the diffuse screen. See step 3
Tape the Shutterring onto the doorbell as such, with tape on the red area
Ready for your frontdoor

User research Shutterring

To get feedback from the public, research assistant Sjoerd went out to interview smart doorbell owners throughout different neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.

Sjoerd Shutter Ring

Research validation

Together with The Incredible Machine we researched the impact of the Shutterring on residents' and passerbys' experience of privacy affected by smart doorbells in their neighbourhood.

Validation Ring

Phil Procter

Phil Procter is a British designer with his studio based in Rotterdam

Marcel Schouwenaar

Designer and Creative director, The Incredible Machine

The Incredible Machine

Design lab with a focus on emerging technologies

Daan Rozinga

Design intern at The Incredible Machine