University of Washington researchers have developed a tiny, wearable camera that can be mounted on bugs.
The report demonstrated that the backpack-like device was comparable to a GoPro camera and could take high quality, panoramic shots of moving objects while only weighing 250 milligrams, according to a University of Washington study published in a July 15 research article in Science Robotics.
Shyam Gollakota, a University of Washington associate professor specializing in computers and robotics, expressed excitement over the breakthrough. “We have created a low-power, low-weight, wireless camera system that can capture a first-person view of what’s happening from an actual live insect or create vision for small robots,” he told the University of Washington. “Vision is so important for communication and for navigation, but it’s extremely challenging to do it at such a small scale. As a result, prior to our work, wireless vision has not been possible for small robots or insects.” (RELATED: Rare Red Rainbow Appears Over Lake)
The researchers were able to mimic an animal’s vision by using a simple black-and-white camera assisted with a small mechanical arm that can be controlled remotely. The device can even be controlled from a Bluetooth-capable smartphone over a football field away, according to the University of Washington.
Although concerns were expressed by the researchers over privacy issues, they believe that the technology could be implemented responsibly via widespread use and implementation by the public. “As researchers we strongly believe that it’s really important to put things in the public domain so people are aware of the risks and so people can start coming up with solutions to address them,” Gollakota told the University of Washington.
Researchers expect their findings to be used in biological and explorational pursuits, according to the University of Washington. Scientists have been working on projects similar to this one for years, with researchers in 2013 developing a camera that operated like ants and beetles, reported CNN.