Cheap Camera Hacked To Record High-Speed Video

Scientists looking to record heart functions in high speed were having a lot of trouble getting affordable high-speed video footage.

So instead of sitting around and getting drunk like most scientist I know, these Oxford chaps created a hack to turn their store-bought video camera into a high-speed camera capable of 400 frames per second instead of the factory 25 fps.

But before you get out the guns and the humming birds and sneezing friends you want to record on high-speed video, the hack isn’t any little software update. According to a New Scientist article on the hack, it means

They achieved the trick using a component most common in another consumer gadget – a home cinema projector. These projectors contain a digital chip studded with tiny, moving mirrors, each of which controls the brightness of a pixel in the projected image.

The Oxford team fixed one of these chips between their camera’s lens and its image sensor. They used the chip’s mirrors as a selective shutter, chopping up every frame of video captured by the camera into 16 lower-resolution frames.

As seen in the video, the resolution is much lower than even most cell phone cameras, but they are high-speed nonetheless. It’s an ingenious way to capture high-speed functions without dropping thousands of dollars on a camera, despite the low resolution.

So instead of trying this hack and breaking my camera and my projector and probably electrocuting myself, I’m going to watch 10 seconds of footage stretched out to 3 minutes.

Cheerleaders at 15 seconds followed by fire breathing, and a Jello drop at 2 minutes — you’re welcome:

[Via New Scientist]

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