Thursday, April 16, 2015

Self-powered camera

Batteries only last so long and they're typically one of the largest and heaviest components in electronic devices. So there is a lot of interest in using ambient features of the environment to power electronic devices - and get rid of batteries altogether. Vibration, radio waves and even heat can be used to power devices.

Here’s a novel approach to harvesting light that uses technology developed at the Vision Laboratory of Columbia University. They've created an image sensor that is also a photoelectric cell, essentially creating a self powered camera. It works by alternating the image capture function with a power capture function - on the same sensor.

This could be extremely useful in remote locations for video monitoring & recording, security applications or for wearable cameras that wouldn't need bulky batteries to power them.

Here’s a link to the Columbia paper that describes the technology. I’m an electronics geek so it’s a fascinating read for me. The abstract and first couple of pages are very readable, even for the non-tech.

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