In what could be a significant breakthrough for smart glasses, researchers in the United States have reportedly claimed to create a way of streaming HD video that uses up to 10,000 times less power than current technologies. A team of engineers at the University of Washington developed a technique that enables wearable cameras like smart glasses to send video to a connected smartphone for processing, resulting in a camera system that requires significantly less power to run.
Videos are currently processed and compressed by streaming cameras before they’re transmitted to a connected device. Engineers have used a technique called backscatter, in which data is reflected directly to a smartphone via an antenna, from the camera lens. The video is then processed by the smartphone, which saved power previously used on the camera. The project’s researchers claim to have found between 1000-10,000 times less power used on the wearable device compared to current streaming technologies.
“The fundamental assumption people have made so far is that backscatter can be used only for low-data rate sensors such as temperature sensors,” says Associate Professor at University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. “This work breaks that assumption and shows that backscatter can indeed support even full HD video.”
In terms of what this could mean moving forward, the next step (according to the team) is to make wireless video cameras that are completely battery-free, which will open the door to wider use cases.
“This video technology has the potential to transform he industry as we know it. Cameras are critical for a number of internet-connected applications, but so far they have been constrained by their power consumption,” says Allen.
Some of Allen’s colleagues echo his sentiment on the direction this project is going, like research Co-author and Engineering Professor Joshua Smith.
“Just imagine you go to a football game five years from now. There could be tiny HD cameras everywhere recording the action: stuck on players’ helmets, everywhere across the stadium,” says Smith. “And you don’t have to ever worry about changing their batteries.”
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)