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In the USA, they created a mini camera mounted on insects: why it can be dangerous

Can you see the world through the eyes of insects? Thanks to scientists from the University of Washington and the camera they created, humanity has such an opportunity. During the experiment, a unique invention was fixed on the back of a beetle. "Voice of America" I learned from the creators of the mini-camera how it is supposed to be used.

Photo: Shutterstock

Interest in the new product is caused not so much by the size of this device as by its autonomy. The co-author of the development is a graduate student of the University of Washington Vikram Iyer (University of Washington).

“This is the first wireless camera to be made this tiny. If you take a smartphone, then the camera itself is also small in it. But the battery and the processor are much larger, ”Iyer explained in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service.

Photo: video screenshot Voices of America

Due to the miniature size, the picture quality is not yet as high as that of modern smartphones. Scientists explain this by saying that the device, the size of a one-cent coin, is the first of its kind, and they saved on every milligram of weight so that the insect could move under the weight of the camera. To improve the image, the lens was made movable - this is how the eyes of insects are arranged.

“Instead of eyes with sharp vision in all directions, insects have split eyes into more sensitive areas. They move their heads and focus on specific objects and directions. We followed the same approach and equipped the camera with a mini adapter that allows it to be rotated left and right, ”said Iyer.

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Photo: video screenshot Voices of America

The scope of the new invention is very wide. Scientists said that the camera could be mounted, for example, on birds, and hypothetically, on small mammals like squirrels or rabbits. So, first of all, biologists are interested in the novelty, hoping that the mini-camera will lead to new discoveries in science, because it will be possible to observe the behavior of insects and animals in their natural environment.

This technology gives impetus to the invention of miniature robots, on which such cameras can also be installed. So far, there are no analogues in large-scale production, since autonomous mini-robots require voluminous power supplies.

“The beetle moves for hours, while a small robot will run out of battery quickly. We can place a camera on an insect and release it into a field, for example, to carry out unique research in the field of agriculture, ”said the graduate student.

Photo: video screenshot Voices of America

The natural question of whether it will be possible to use the camera for espionage, scientists answer in the affirmative. However, they emphasize that they are categorically against using the invention for these purposes.

“In the laboratory, we are looking for ways to resist such use,” - explained the interlocutor of the Voice of America.

Now the creators of the device are thinking about how to put it on a commercial track and start mass production.

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Photo: video screenshot Voices of America

“We have already been contacted by representatives of research groups, as well as by the US Department of Agriculture, who are interested in such technologies for monitoring insects,” said Iyer. "As for the total cost, it is actually quite low because of the small size."

Together with the camera, scientists have developed a special application that allows you to see the picture from the camera directly on your smartphone.

By the way, not a single beetle was injured during the study - special species of beetles were selected for the experiment, which in wildlife carry loads weighing more than five hundred milligrams.

insects culture camera

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