Researchers at the University of Washington call it a “GoPro for beetles” – a ultralight, wireless, steerable camera that can ride on the back of a bug. And it’s pretty effective at letting us see what these bugs see. Plus: a new online chart tracks the vocal range of famous pop singers, by measuring the highest and lowest notes they ever sung on a recording.
A GoPro for beetles: Researchers create a robotic camera backpack for insects (University of Washington)
Vocal Ranges of the World’s Greatest Singers (Bookofjoe)
I’m excited about this episode, cause I’ve always wanted to do an episode about a beetles movie!
Where I live, it’s definitely a busy time for insects, from lovable lightning bugs to loathable mosquitoes.
Scientists at the University of Washington are getting a bug’s eye view of the world.
They’ve invented a tiny camera that can ride on an insect’s back.
The camera weighs 250 milligrams, which they say is 10 percent of the weight of a playing card.
It’s also low power, so it can run wirelessly, and the researchers can remotely pan the camera 60 degrees left or right.
It actives when it (and, by extension, the bug on which it’s riding) begins moving, and once it does it can send 1 to 5 frames a second to a smartphone.
They tried the camera out on two different types of beetles, both of whom appear to have handled their backpack cameras without issues.
Why does the world need a GoPro for bugs, as they call it?
For the same reasons scientists have used camera and other tracking devices on larger creatures: so we can see what they see, figure out where they go, what they do, how they react to what’s in their environment.
Plus, having a tiny camera that’s more or less autonomous is handy for a lot of non-insect related reasons.
Imagine putting one of these on a tiny robot that could get into a hard-to-reach place in a building and scan for cracks in the foundation.
Or even help Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn like in that 80s movie “Batteries Not Included.”
And here’s news about a different kind of creature known for making videos: pop musicians!
The blog Bookofjoe just pointed out a chart that tracks the vocal range of famous pop singers, by measuring the highest and lowest notes they ever sung on a recording.
The whole thing is worth a look, but in case you’re curious, the top three on the chart: Prince, Mariah Carey, and Axl Rose of Guns ‘n’ Roses.