Scientists like to see new points of view, especially when it comes to studying the behavior of some species. Thus, a team of engineers from the University of Washington decided to observe the world from the perspective of a beetle, creating a tiny black and white camera that they then leaned on their back.
Miniature photojournalists were an Asbolus verrucosus and an Eleodes. The device streamed photos and videos directly to the phone, depicting exactly what the beetle was staring at: from squirrels to trucks. The camera weighs a tenth of a playing card, consumes minimal power and keeps the frame pointed at the point where the insect is located, following its movements.
The team previously also created small insect-sized robots to carry cameras. However, the vibrations required to move the robot have created blurred images. Stopping to take the snapshot created a clearer image, but obviously it did not represent a real experience of the movement of a beetle. Not to mention the fact that a robot can move from a few minutes to an hour without recharging, while insects can walk for hours.
For this reason, the engineers opted to place the camera directly on the back of the beetle. “This is the first time we have a first-person view from the back of a beetle while on the go“says Vikram Iyer, co-author of the University of Washington study.