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Lens-less camera, costing pennies, brings vision to the Internet of Things

Patrick Thibodeau | Sept. 19, 2014
There's a type of camera technology emerging with a view of the world similar to what a honey bee sees. The images appear blurry and hazy, but if you're a bee, good enough for finding flowers and people to sting.

This device proliferation would be impractical if building owners had to run around replacing batteries. That's why very low power sensing technologies will be critical, along with the development of energy-harvesting systems that can capture energy from motion, such as footsteps, or friction.

Gartner tracks the prices of the sensors, and they continue to fall; the cost of enabling a device may be no more than $1 before long.

The $1 estimate can be seen as a basic cost for adding a network and processor chip, excluding integration costs, said Nick Jones, an analyst at Gartner. He's also assuming that embedded software costs will be "approximately zero" since those are amortized across a large number of devices.

Gartner's prediction doesn't assume that all the protocols and interoperability issues will get sorted out. Jones expects it may take as long as two decades for that to happen.


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