Best of 2015 // #90: The Forever Camera

Best of 2015

Cameras are relatively simply machines.  They need energy to work.  Light is energy.  A modern camera works by sensing light, and this fact may provide an elegant solution to one of newer universal problems: how to power a camera forever.

READ MORE // Simple Chart Explains Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

Digital cameras create photos and images based on data they receive from millions of photodiodes, each measuring the amount of light it receives.  Solar Panels also use photodiodes, converting the light energy into electrical energy.

In April, a Columbia University team however off a working prototype of a ‘forever camera’, which records video and provides its own power – even indoors.

The team build the device by constantly toggling between harvesting light for power and measuring light for images.

Forever Camera Self-Powered

The possible uses are interesting, as there could be many cases for a self-powering camera – everything from law enforcement to traffic cameras to wildlife photography.

[…”We’re really in the middle of an imaging revolution, but if you want to see images becoming ubiquitous – I’m not talking about pretty pictures, but as a way to document life – you don’t want these devices tethered (to a separate power source)”…]

Shree Nayar, Computer Science Professor, Project Leader, Columbia University.

Eternal Forever Camera

The team will spend the next few years shrinking the device – Nayar describes it now as “big and clunky”, boosting its power, and making it wirelessly accessible.

There’s 99 more stories from 2015.  Check out the Best of 2015 series here

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