MIT researchers have developed a battery-free, wireless underwater camera that is about 100,000 times more energy efficient than other undersea cameras. It takes color photos, even in dark underwater environments, and transmits image data wirelessly through the water, with a 40-meter range that they are working to improve.
The autonomous camera uses piezoelectric materials to convert mechanical energy from sound waves traveling through water into electrical energy that powers its imaging and communications equipment. After capturing and encoding image data, the camera also uses sound waves to transmit data to a receiver that reconstructs the image.
Because it doesn’t need a power source, the camera could run for weeks on end before it is retrieved, enabling scientists to search remote parts of the ocean for new species. It could also be used to capture images of ocean pollution or monitor the health and growth of fish raised in aquaculture farms. Tracking the effects of climate change is another important potential application.
“This technology could help us build more accurate climate models and better understand how climate change impacts the underwater world,” says Fadel Adib, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and senior author of a paper on the system, who notes that more than 95% of Earth’s oceans have yet to be observed.
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.
Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.
Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.
AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.
What’s next for AI in 2024
Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.