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BeetleCam Robotic Camera Meets the Lions of Masai Mara

How did William Burrard-Lucas, a U.K. wildlife photographer, get this close-up shot and survive to tell the story? Using a remote-controlled robotic camera, of course!

1 min read
BeetleCam Robotic Camera Meets the Lions of Masai Mara

beetlecam wildlife photo robot lion closeup

How did William Burrard-Lucas, a U.K. wildlife photographer, get this close-up shot and survive to tell the story? Using a remote-controlled robotic camera, of course!

It's called BeetleCam, and it's basically a DSLR camera mounted on a six-wheel mobile platform that he can control from a safe distance. Burrard-Lucas created the first version of BeetleCam a few years ago to take close-up, wide-angle photographs of dangerous African animals in the wild. Emphasis on dangerous.

Now he's upgraded his original BeetleCam, building new models with more advanced capabilities, including HD video recording, wireless "live-view," and remotely operated camera tilt. He also constructed an armored, lion-proof carapace to (he hoped) protect the equipment. Last year, he took the new camera bots to Kenya to photograph the lions of the Masai Mara. Check out the teaser video below showing how the animals reacted to the robotic visitor.

Visit Burrard-Lucas' site below to read about his adventures with BeetleCam and see the spectacular photos he brought back from Kenya.

[ BeetleCam ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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