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 ]
Erico Guizzo is the digital product manager at IEEE Spectrum. He oversees the operation, integration, and new feature development for all digital properties and platforms, including the Spectrum website, newsletters, CMS, editorial workflow systems, and analytics and AI tools. He’s the cofounder of the IEEE Robots Guide, an award-winning interactive site about robotics. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.