Yelps. It looks like the microbot that appeared in the sci-fi thriller novel by Dan Brown, Deception Point, is not far from reality. Remember how scientists have created a cyborg dragonfly that allows humans to manipulate a living dragonfly? Well, combining that with a recent creation by researchers at University of Washington, Deception Point spy microbot is closer to reality than you think.
The researchers over at University of Washington has created a Robotic Camera Backpack for Insects. Robotic Camera Backpack for Insects is exactly what it says it is. It is a super tiny camera designed to be “worn” by an insect, such as in this case, a Pinacate beetle.
The craziest part with this research project is, the camera can actually stream live footage to a smartphone. The smartphone is also where settings of camera can be tweaked as well as, believe it or not, allowing users to steer the camera. The latter allows the camera to take panorama images. Moreover, the low resolution camera is actually low-light capable.
The Robotic Camera Backpack for Insects weighs in at mere 250 milligrams – that’s roughly one-tenth the weight of a playing card. While the camera only does monochrome images and also streams at a very modest 1 to 5 fps, it is a huge leap in robotic camera miniaturization.
Obviously, the Robotic Camera Backpack for Insects is not designed with espionage in mind (or is it???). The wirelessly steerable vision system, which is inspired by insects’ vision, can be used by entomologists to observe insects as they go about their daily lives.
Right. I am sure CIA will be interested in hearing about this. Just kidding! Seriously, though, this action cam for insect, along with the cyborg dragonfly, is a step closer to the fantasy tech as described by Dan Brown. All there is left now is better resolution and a battery that recharges by microwave from around us. Well, that’s an exciting and pretty disconcerting notion, isn’t it?
Images: University of Washington.