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Researchers Create Tiny ‘Go-Pro’ for Bettles That Streams Insect Adventures

Mark Andrew

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  • A research group from the University of Washington has invented a camera system that’s small and light enough to be carried by a beetle.
  • The technology gives us a “first-person” view as it captures footage right from an insect’s perspective.
  • The beetles were able to move freely since the camera only weight 250 milligrams.

A team of researchers from the University of Washington has created a camera system that’s small and light enough to be carried by a tiny insect. And the said technology gives us a glimpse of what life is like through the eyes of these little creatures.

In a research published in the journal Science Robotics, we learn that the “bettle-cam” streams up to 5 frames per second of low res black and white videos via a smartphone. According to the group, the miniature camera weighs only 250 milligrams and delivers 160 x 120 pixel images.

This tiny lightweight camera streams black and white footage directly to a mobile device.

As you can see on the photo, the camera is wireless and so it gives a “first-person” view as the insect takes us along its adventures.

The tech is carried like a backpack and has the capability to pivot 60 degrees.

In a post in the University of Washington website, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering Ali Najafi, also one of the co-authors, shared:

“We made sure the beetles could still move properly when they were carrying our system. They were able to navigate freely across gravel, up a slope and even climb trees.”

This is the “smallest terrestrial, power-autonomous robot with wireless vision” in the world, according to the research group.

The camera lasts for at least six hours per charge and researchers explained the insects weren’t harmed and “lived for at least a year” after the experiment concluded.

We can just imagine how this tech can be used for surveillance and spying, for instance.

Research senior author Shyam Gollakota addressed this concern, saying:

“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.”

Watch this video to learn more:

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