Mobile devices are increasingly offering multiple high quality cameras. The camera functionality is power intensive which causes the battery to drain quickly.
Amazon has solved this problem with an ingenious solution. They have invented a camera that can power itself.
The image sensor of the camera includes a first region having camera pixels and a second region having photovoltaic cells. The camera pixels capture light from the lens assembly for generating images and the photovoltaic cells capture light from the lens assembly for generating energy.
The lens assembly includes a lens and multiple lens elements. Each lens element can be configured to direct a portion of light to a portion of the second region that includes the photovoltaic cells and the lens can be configured to direct a portion of the light to the first region that includes the camera pixels. The lens assembly helps in focusing more light on the photovoltaic cells to generate power more efficiently.
Further, other sensors that generate energy can also be used. For example, thermoelectric materials that convert temperature differences to electric voltage, antennas that convert propagating electromagnet waves to electrical signals, magnetic cartridge that converts physical motion to electrical signals, as well as other transducers that convert energy from one form to another.
However, this arrangement has a major drawback. As the area of region that includes the photovoltaic cells increases and the area of region that includes the camera sensor decreases, as a result the resolution of the image decreases.
Therefore, rather than replace pixels with photovoltaic cells, the pixels include a photovoltaic coating. In this situation, the image sensor performs the tasks of sensing and energy harvesting.
So now you can click pictures for much longer.
Publication number: US 9,407,845
Patent Title: Self powering camera
Publication date: 2 Aug 2016
Filing date: 26 Mar 2015
Inventors: SSolh; Mashhour
Original Assignee: Amazon Technologies, Inc.