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  • 08.11.08

Canon Planning Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cameras?

In the spring, rumors of fuel cell company MTI Micro working with a Japanese camera company got a lot of technophiles hot and bothered, and now it seems that the company in question might be Canon [NYSE:CAJ]. How do we know? Canon has filed a patent for a fuel cell-powered digital SLR. According to the verbiage of the patent: "The present invention related to an electronic equipment system having fuel cells, and more particularly, to a camera system in which fuel cells are provided to a camera body and a connection device connected to the camera body."

In the spring, rumors of fuel cell company MTI Micro working with a Japanese camera company got a lot of technophiles hot and bothered, and now it seems that the company in question might be Canon [NYSE:CAJ]. How do we know? Canon has filed a patent for a fuel cell-powered digital SLR. According to the verbiage of the patent: “The present invention related to an electronic equipment system having fuel cells, and more particularly, to a camera system in which fuel cells are provided to a camera body and a connection device connected to the camera body.”

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From the patent’s illustrations, it looks like a small fuel cell will be placed on the right side of the camera body, inside the hand grip, and power will be routed to two places: the shutter/lens engine, and the flash hot shoe on top of the camera body. 

While there’s no saying how much operational life one hydrogen cell charge could provide, it’s a safe bet that it’ll be significanty more — perhaps four or five times more — than present battery technology, or Canon wouldn’t be pursuing it (at what is definitely a high cost in R&D). Of course, this technology is still in its most inchoate form, as there’s currently no easy way to charge a hydrogen fuel cell (unless you have a tank of hydrogen around.) But here’s to hoping that we see this thing within 10 years.

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.

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