American engineers have developed a wearable camera for beetles. Its mass is less than a quarter of a gram excluding the battery: a load does not prevent the bug to move and balance. The camera can change the angle, turning horizontally, remove the monochrome video at up to five frames per second and in real time to transmit it to the smartphone via Bluetooth, say the authors of the article in Science is Robotics.
Engineers working for many years on the creation of Autonomous miniature robots: for example, Rolls-Royce is sponsoring the creation of micro-robots that diagnose engines from the inside without separating them, and the us Agency DARPA is planning to the technology of these robots, apparently for reconnaissance. Interim progress in this area already, but while even the most advanced robots from behind effectiveness against insects, which are evolutionarily developed to optimize their bodies for hundreds of millions of years. Therefore, in parallel with the development of robot engineers are also involved in the creation of hybrids such as insects, are equipped with electronics that allow you to collect data or even to control the movement of the animal.
Engineers from the University of Washington under the leadership of Chiamata Gollakota (Shyamnath Gollakota) and the Vikram Iyer (Vikram Iyer) created a small mobile and wireless camera, which can be used as on insects, and micro-robots: both applications the authors demonstrated in practice.
The camera module is arranged quite simply: it has a Li-polymer battery, Board with microcontroller, an accelerometer and Bluetooth transceiver, is another Board with a boost Converter and a moving camera unit. In order that the camera can move, it is fixed on the piezoelectric actuator. When voltage is applied from the Board it is bent in one direction or the other, and the camera through a simple mechanical transmission is tilted in the opposite direction. This allows you to change the camera direction by 30 degrees in each direction.