The Camera That Powers Itself Forever

Posted on Apr 22 2015 - 9:55pm by Robert

A camera that powers itself and just keeps on taking pictures forever sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Well, it might be more than just an idea before too long.

This is because researchers in the US have come up with a prototype for a camera that uses light to take pictures. It works by converting the light it receives on its sensors into electricity that it uses to take pictures.

The idea is that it could carry on taking pictures forever, at the rate one per second. The work was carried out at the Columbia University in New York. Prof Shree Nayar is the director of the computer vision lab there and he said that the thought of a camera could “function as an untethered device forever” and without any external power supply would be extremely useful.

The Secret Lies in the Photodiodes

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The key to this project lies in the fact that solar panels and digital cameras handle light using very similar components, known as photodiodes. The team therefore worked to get one that could combine the tasks needed to detect the light to take a picture and to also convert it into electricity.

The prototype camera only takes black and white images that aren’t of great quality and uses a 30 x 40 pixel sensor grid. However, the researchers have already shot a short film using it. They now intend to enhance the technology by making a camera with more pixels. The work has led to suggestions that we could soon have self-powered smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.

Can you see any drawbacks to using a camera like this one?

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