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MIT engineers built a crazy wireless underwater camera with no battery

Published Sep 28th, 2022 12:08PM EDT
deep ocean with light coming in
Image: donfiore / Adobe

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Engineers with MIT have created a wireless, battery-free underwater camera that can operate autonomously for long periods of time. The device, which the engineers detailed in a study featured in the journal Nature Communications, is powered by sound. The engineers say the camera is 100,000 times more efficient than other undersea cameras.

On top of being more efficient with its energy, the wireless, battery-free underwater camera takes color photos and can even transmit the data wirelessly through the water. Additionally, they say that the camera can even take photos in the dark.

All of this comes together to create what sounds like one of the most innovative underwater cameras we’ve ever seen. And, because it doesn’t need a power source – like a battery – the camera could run for weeks before scientists need to retrieve it. That would make this battery-free underwater camera especially useful for studying undiscovered sea creatures.

This is exactly what MIT had in mind when the engineers behind this camera set out to create something new and innovative. And it is innovative because it uses sound to not only power the device, but also to reconstruct the images after it has taken them. It does this by converting mechanical energy from sound waves traveling through the water into electrical energy.

That energy is then used to power the imaging and communications equipment built into the battery-free underwater camera. It’s a unique design and one that will hopefully open new doors for scientists to explore underwater areas more reliably.

Technology and innovative breakthroughs like this could help usher in a new age of ocean exploration – something we desperately need.

Better understanding the oceans, especially places we haven’t been able to explore freely, could help us learn more about the ongoing climate changes and how they’re affecting the deepest levels of our planet.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.