Robots and Crickets

If you watch science fiction movies, the robots of the future look like us. The truth is, though, many tasks go better when robots don’t look like us. Sometimes they are unique to a particular job or sometimes it is useful to draw inspiration from something other than a human being. One professor at Johns Hopkins along with some students decided to look at spider crickets as an inspiration for a new breed of jumping robots.

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Faking high-speed video photography of repetitive events

[Destin] has been doing some high-speed and high-resolution video photography using a standard DSLR. He accomplishes this using a bit of ingenuity to capture images of repetitive events at slightly different points in time.

The banner image above shows a bullet travelling through a set of matchsticks. [Destin] uses the sound of the gun firing to trigger the flash that captures the image. A piezeo transducer picks up the sound, triggering a precision pulse generator. That pulse generator then triggers the flash, adding a delay based on the settings. In this way, [Destin] can capture video by firing a bullet for each frame, but adjusting the delay period of the pulse generator to capture the image when the bullet is in a slightly different place from the previous frame. It’s an old technique, but after some post-processing it produces a high-quality output without sinking thousands of dollars into an actual high-speed camera. Check out the video we’ve embedded after the break.

We like this guy’s style. We saw him strapping a camera onto a chicken back in December and we hope to see a lot more from him in the future.

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High speed video from cheap digital camera

Some researchers from Oxford University have come up with a way to produce high-speed video from a one mega-pixel camera. They’re calling the method Temporal Pixel Multiplexing. This method adds a digital micromirror device in line with the camera lens. These chips house over a million mirrors and can be found in home theater projectors. By placing one in front of the digital camera, a longer exposure can be used while the DMD redirects the light. This way, one high-resolution image actually contains multiple frames of lower-resolution video. The video is still decent quality and, at a far lower cost than common high-speed video equipment, this is a worthwhile trade off.

[Thanks Andrew via NewScientist]