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Researchers have created the world's first self-powered camera

By Shawn Knight
Apr 15, 2015
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  1. video camera battery energy power electricity battery technology camera sensor self-powered camera photodiodes

    Researchers from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created the world’s first self-sustainable camera meaning it's capable of powering itself without assistance from a battery.

    As EurekaAlert highlights, a typical camera sensor exposed to light uses photodiodes to generate an electric current. This helps the sensor measure the intensity of the light, information which is then used to produce an image.

    Solar cells, which convert light into electric energy, operate similarly enough that scientists were able to craft an image sensor that can alternate between both tasks. The result is a sensor that can essentially power itself while capturing images. Pretty neat, eh?

    Shree K. Nayar, who led the research team, said a few different designs for image sensors that can harvest energy have been proposed but their prototype is the first demonstration of a fully self-powered video camera.

    The prototype was built using off-the-shelf components and is able to capture one image per second, indefinitely, in a well-lit indoor scene. It employs a tiny 30x40 pixel sensor which is housed inside a 3D printed body. When not being used to capture images, it can generate power for other small devices like a watch or a phone.

    Image quality obviously leaves a lot to be desired but that wasn’t the focus here (no pun intended). As a proof of concept, this is an important step that could one day be useful in products like always-on security cameras, wearables and IoT gadgets.

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  2. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,160   +198

    I am old enough to remember when cameras did not require batteries :p

    The little clicky wheel to wind on your next shot and off you went .
     
    stewi0001 and dms96960 like this.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,154   +1,429

    Is this what's gonna stay around after we are all but dead? I thought it was going to be just guns and twinkies...

    And all photographers had fit fingers :) ...some even toes :)
     
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,673   +778

    Uh, excuse me ..... the first self powered camera was considered the camera'obscure, invented in france prior to 1800 .....
     
    jobeard likes this.
  5. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,556   +862

    Shawn says no pun intended in around half his articles when there was clearly a pun intended... :p
     
  6. gazzaman

    gazzaman TS Rookie

    Really ? wow .. tell me more please !
     
  7. BloodyMatters

    BloodyMatters TS Rookie

    I don't want to be a ****.. but..

    That wasn't a self powered camera. You still needed HUMANS to POWER the camera. Without humans I wouldn't do a thing.

    The camera in the article only needs light to produce an electric current which would be used to power the camera. It's true that it needs a light source to make the current but it doesn't need winding or a battery :)
     
    Kibaruk likes this.
  8. Take this with wifi and you have a real Wireless camera ;)
     
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,673   +778

    Sorry to disagree but there are lots of things that are self-powered that function just fine without a human ... nature does a nice job all by itself and all you need do is look around, it's right in front of you!
     
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +622

    Physics 101:
    camera obscura was a simple pin hole it the wall - - no appature, no shutter.
    It worked 24/7 without an operator and even without an observer. The image was there for the 'looking'
     
  11. Porn. No other reason.
     

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