Popped balloons or bullets fired into apples, anyone can photograph with a quick sound based camera rig. Lasers have been used forever in motion detection. And even door bell chimes have been used before for remote camera shutter releases. No, [SaskView] wanted to go further and created his Laser Triggered High-Speed Photography setup, to photograph (of all things) milk splashes. We liked the simplicity of the project however; requiring no programmed microchips or overly complicated circuitry – rather he took a quick trip to the local dollar shop, used the amazing CHDK firmware, and he produced perfect results every time.
[Update: CHDK, not CHKD firmware. My mind must be elsewhere. Thanks jbot and agent smith]
Ishikawa Komuro Laboratories are doing some amazing stuff with robots right now. The video above starts out looking like a clumsy and somewhat failed attempt at dribbling a ping pong ball. Once it goes into slow motion however, we see the true action. This robot is dribbling that ball amazingly. Utilizing 1000 FPS cameras, it readjusts and hits the ball on every bounce. As the ball drifts out of the reach of the bot, suddenly we are struck with the lifelike motion. Personification can be a fleeting thing, appearing so strongly as the little bot tries in vain to reach for that ball, then disappearing again an instant later. If you really want to see some personification worthy of the crab fu challenge, check out their tool manipulation by a multi fingered hand video.
The Camera Axe is an open source system for doing high speed camera triggering. You know all those pictures people get of balloons popping or drops of water in mid splash? This is how they do it. The system has light sensors and sound sensors to help get the timing just right. It can trigger your camera and the flash to capture images at just the right moment. There are a lot of picture examples on the site as well as a full schematic and parts list. Not too bad for roughly $100.