Researchers at Columbia University have built the first video camera capable of powering itself with no need for a battery.
The prototype possesses this ability thanks to an image sensor that can both capture images and convert light into electricity for solar cells, according to Gizmodo. While the camera can only produce one image per second in a place that is well lit, it can theoretically record footage forever.
The research team built the camera with off-the-shelf parts. The sensor can switch between capturing footage in photoconductive mode and charging in photovoltaic mode by measuring the intensity of light into electricity and then converting light into electricity.
"A few different designs for image sensors that can harvest energy have been proposed in the past," said Shree K. Nayar, the director of the Computer Vision Laboratory at Columbia Engineering and leader of the team, The Verge reported. "However, our prototype is the first demonstration of a fully self-powered video camera."
The camera, which was built with a 3D printer, has a small resolution of only 30 pixels by 40 pixels.
Nayar said digital imaging is giving researchers the chance to make improvements in fields like wearable devices, sensor networks, smart tech, personalized medicine and the Internet of Things, Gizmodo reported.
"A camera that can function as an untethered device forever- without any external power supply- would be incredibly useful," Nayar added.
Take a look of some video recorded with the team's self-powered camera below.