Hundreds of broadcasters are set to cover the Olympic action starting next week, but even the most dedicated camera operators can't always keep up with sports that move at lightning speed. Now, researchers at Tokyo University in Japan have built a camera that can perfectly track fast-moving objects like a ping-pong ball mid-flight.
Rather than moving the device itself, the camera's gaze is controlled by two mirrors attached to high-speed motors which can readjust in a fraction of a second, much faster than adjusting a bulky recording device. These rapidly moving mirrors combined with a filming speed of 1000 frames per second allow the camera to keep the ping-pong ball dead centre.
Oku Ishikawa Lab Professor Masatoshi Ishikawa says: "I hope the technology will be applied to various fields in robotics, medical/bio operation, scientific observation, as well as judgement or analysis in sports at the Olympic Games."
The researchers say the camera could also record close-up views of flying birds or insects.