There is one robot that professional nature photographers use. Thanks to this bot, we can get some extraordinary and creative photos we could not get with conventional photography. This electronic device opened a new style and perspective in photography.
Close-up photography of wild animals has always been an extreme hobby. And taking a unique photo is even more challenging and difficult. But then one small robot appeared. It’s name is BeetleCam. Created by photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas, this bot is a modded 4WO robotic vehicle created by Lynxmotion and upgraded with a SLR camera. Photographers ordered their robot with off-road tires to help it move around Africa’s extreme terrain. Then they added two 7.2-volt. 2.800mAh NiMH batteries that provide enough power to operate 24 hours. That is very important because they must be patient and move the robot very slow to get it near the animals.
They managed to hack the camera to operate by a free channel on the Hitec radio controller. Signal is converted by a relay switch from the R/C receiver so that it can trigger the camera’s shutter release button. They mounted Canon EOS 20 camera which controls two flash devices using a divided off-camera flash cord.
The robots price is about $500 and they built prototype in 30 days. After they fixed the camera and camouflaged the robot, it was ready to put it in work. They went to Tanzania where the bot was instantly crushed by a lion who carried it into the bush. The camera was destroyed, but they were able to extract photos from it. Memory card and robot were not damaged. The photos proved that this bot is a success. BeetleCam was upgraded with a Canon EOS-10 Mark III and again sent ind wildlife. This time Lions were avoided. Strangly, one more dangerous animal proved to be not only cooperative but curious about the small robot. African buffalo showed pretty much interest in robotics too.
The team is now working on version 2.0 of BeetleCam. They intend to build a lion-proof version of the robot. They must place the sensitive camera in come case to avoid possible destruction. After that, robot will be ready to take pictures of all the animals ind wildlife.