The video below is not meant for the weak of heart.
Well, besides the fact that it’s creepy as hell, it’s also bound to get you excited for another reason - the camera that took the video is powered by the same video.
Wait, what? This sounds way too meta for you? Then let us explain what the folks at Columbia University have done to create this self-powered camera.
First, you have to understand what a photodiode does, which is found in a camera’s sensor or a solar cell. The former is used to generate an electric current, which measures the intensity of the light and generates images. The latter is meant to convert the captured light into electrical power.
Now, what if you have a photodiode on a camera sensor that does both? Boom! There’s your self-powering device. In theory, it sounds simple and you would be wondering why hasn’t this been done on existing smartphones.
You’ll need a lot of light. And we’re not kidding about it. Even existing solar panels need to absorb a huge amount just to generate a decent amount of power.
In this case, the camera, which was 3D printed by Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has to alternate between capturing an image and converting the said light to self-sustain the device. At this point, the prototype can manage to capture one image per second. Except, it has a really puny resolution at 30 x 40 pixels. Plus, it can only capture images in black-and-white.
At least, for now. The concept has been proven, and should this be jumpstarted to megapixel levels, it might even solve the perennial problem that has plagued all mobile devices - battery.
And more importantly, you might see an actual coloured photo, and not this black-and-white, pixelated mess that looks like it crept out from a dark well.