A team of researchers has developed a small wireless camera that is light enough to be carried by live beetles.
The team at the University of Washington in the US depicted inspiration from the small insects to create its low-powered camera system.
Through connecting a smartphone, this cam can stream black and white footage with up to five frames per second of low-resolution.
The research was published in the Science Robotics journal.
The entire piece weighs just 250 milligrams, which is about a tenth of the weight of a playing card.
Low resolution sensor, capturing just 160 by 120 pixel images,mounted on a mechanical arm that can shift from side to side which allows the camera to look side to side and scan the environment, like a beetle, and capture a higher-resolution panoramic image.
To save battery life, the examiners included an accelerometer in the system, so that it only takes photos when the insect is moving. This system, the camera was able to function for six hours on a full charge.
The insects were not harmed and “lived for at least a year” after the end of the research.
Rather than wheels, the robot/ camera moves by vibrating and can travel about three centimetres a second.
The researchers used what they had learned to produce an independent insect-sized camera robot.
The team at Washington University, states it is the world’s “smallest terrestrial, power-autonomous robot with wireless vision”.
Senior author of the research, Shyam Gollakota, acknowledged that miniature camera robots could introduce new surveillance concerns.
“As researchers we strongly believe that it’s really important to put things in the public domain so people are aware of the risks and so people can start coming up with solutions to address them,” he added.