Tiny camera can power itself and other devices

To innovators envisioning the Internet of Things, wherein everyday devices operate on a wireless, interconnected network, component size and battery life are incredibly important. This self-powered camera was created by a team of scientists from Columbia University, and the prototype may pave the way for future cameras to charge themselves as they capture images, negating the need to a battery pack or charger at all. They claim their discovery is the first self-powered camera that can harvest energy as it takes pictures.

The camera uses photodiodes for each pixel, creating electric current when exposed to ambient light. Each time the camera takes a picture, the pixels switch between two modes: recording and reading an image, then harvesting energy and charging a power supply.

Most camera sensors these days care capable of recording millions of pixels, but this camera's sensor is only 30x40 pixels, creating a blocky and grayscale image. Come to think of it, this camera's quality reminds me of an old school Game Boy camera printer. But, quality wasn't the target of this project. This prototype was designed to be a bare-bones proof-of-concept design, but Nayar says that with a few small adjustments the camera could charge a rechargeable battery or could power other devices.

Head of research on the project, Shree K. Nayar, envisions a not-so-distant future where small, battery-less cameras can be incorporated into everyday devices for the Internet of Things. Nayar believes that his device is a step towards, "developing an entirely new generation of cameras that can function for a very long duration—ideally, forever—without being externally powered."

Take a look at this low-resolution video captured by camera.

Source: Eureka Alert