Technology is generally known to be an evolving process that doesn’t stop at just a single discovery. Since the invention of the first camera, there has been steady and consistent work going on to ensure that the device gets better. This has led to the invention of numerous pieces of photographic equipment. No doubt, there seems to be tiny cameras everywhere.
But as if these were not enough, researchers are still getting their hands busy seeking to create more improved versions if these devices. Now, there is a new microscopic- and self-powered-type of camera that can be possibly embedded just about anywhere working consistently without any interruption. While this can be regarded as an exceptionally cool technology, it is, however, very likely to lead to an increase in the sales of tinfoil.
There have been previous attempts from engineers to investigate how possible a camera sensor could use the same light it gets to power itself. Basically, this will involve two separate functions of a photovoltaic cell that will require one to store available energy while the other takes recordings of the total amount of energy retrieved.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to have one cell perform two different functions at the same time. So, they have no choice but to dedicate a good percentage of the cell capacity to retrieve power or be ready to rapidly swap cells between two performing tasks. But that’s if they choose to maintain a certain size of sensor.
In a bid to overcome these challenges, two researchers from the University of Michigan – post-doc Sung-Yun Park and Euisik Yoon – have proposed a solution. They recently revealed that the solar cell won’t actually be deprived of light when placed beneath the image sensor since they aren’t totally opaque. In fact, a good amount of light can pass through these photosensitive diodes.
It is based on this discovery that the sensor capable of performing “simultaneous imaging and energy harvesting” was invented. Apart from its wondrous ability to capture quality images of about 15 frames per second, the prototype sensor which is just about 1 mm2 can power itself to full capacity with sunlight.
The researchers also revealed that the chip could perform at lower lighting levels or higher frame rates since its power consumption is not optimized. With just a few tweaks to the sensor, there is every possibility that these tiny cameras could efficiently produce better images in the near future.
It’s actually good to know that the technology will require no wireless power or battery to operate as a nearly invisible camera for a long period of time. No doubt, this innovation will require more than a mere imaging component to become an effective spy camera.
Interestingly, only a matter of time and effort is required to put the microscopic versions of an efficient storage and transmission medium together. Hopefully, there will be more there will soon be tiny cameras everywhere soon.
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