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NASA Has Made A 'Fluid Camera' To Take Better Photographs Of The Ocean

New camera technology created by NASA can see underwater from a drone.

| Technology


Here in the UK, most of us are lucky enough to live close enough to the sea that we can reach it, with our cameras of course, within a couple of hours but did you know that we actually know more about the surface of Mars and the moon combined than we do of our own ocean floor? 

This is something NASA Research Scientist Ved Chirayath has both pointed out and is trying to rectify with his 'Fluid Cam'.

The Fluid Cam is a combination of software, known as Fluid Lensing, and hardware he's developed with the help of a grant and when combined can capture images below the ocean's surface. 

'Why is this impressive?' we hear you ask. Well, when using drones or satellites to see through the ocean's surface the movement of the water distorts it but the Fluid Cam overcomes the distortion caused by the waves so you can see the reef etc. 

"Imagine you’re looking at something sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool. If no swimmers are around and the water is still, you can easily see it. But if someone dives in the water and makes waves, that object becomes distorted. You can’t easily distinguish its size or shape," explains NASA. 

Ved Chirayath says the camera is 'high performance' but not much else is mentioned about the megapixels or sensor size. However, if you look closely at the video footage you can see that it's a Leica lens popping out of the front of the camera (please do comment below if you can see which Leica lens it is). Surrounding the lens is a computer with 16-cores of processing power and around 1TB of memory. Data comes off of the camera at 550MB per second so it's not something your average laptop will be able to cope with.  

So far, Fluid Cam has flown on a drone and someday, the researchers hope it can be flown on an orbiting spacecraft to gather image data on the world's reefs.

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wow it can open up the commercial side of such cameras as well.

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