Power consumption is a concern for everyone. But what if devices could run indefinitely with only sunlight to power them? A team at Columbia University has developed a camera that will do just that.
According to Popular Science: "The computer vision lab at Columbia University, led by computer scientist Shree K. Nayar, created this ever-lasting camera by making photodiodes—devices that convert light into electricity —do double duty. In digital cameras, photodiodes measure light. In solar panels, they harvest energy. The eternal camera’s photodiodes do both jobs. This enables the camera to generate enough power to take photos forever—as long as there’s light available.
Nayar’s team began by building just one double-duty photodiode. Mounted on a robot that slowly moved it in a grid, it captured an entire picture one pixel at a time, which took about an hour. The current iteration of the camera incorporates 1,200 pixels and takes a photo every second, displaying the images on an external monitor.
The group next plans to reduce the camera’s size while increasing its speed and resolution. That way it could be used for specialty projects where size and access to power are concerns: to track wildlife as part of conservation projects, to use less power on space-exploration missions, or to provide round-the-clock security."