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Old 02-25-2010, 08:28 AM   #1
wilywampa
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Default IR Tracking Camera

I built a camera mount that automatically tracks an IR target. Here's a demo:


In that case, the target is a Wii sensor bar, but I plan to put a few high intensity infrared LEDs on a helicopter and use it to film that
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:33 AM   #2
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Very nicely done! I'm impressed.

Would you mind giving some info on how the tracking sensor detects the angle to the source?

specifically what kind of sensor?
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:52 AM   #3
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Hi wilywampa, this is someting i have been trying to build for ages, could you share some of the details with me? i.e. mechanical and electronic circuit, is there any PIC involved in it too?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:02 AM   #4
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Arduino ???
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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I'm not planning to sell this or anything, so I suppose I could share all the details...

The Wiimote IR camera is a 1024x768 pixel camera with an IR pass filter rather than an IR stop filter like most cameras have. It doesn't report data for every single pixel. Instead, it has built-in algorithms to track up to 4 separate IR targets. It reports X and Y positions on the CCD sensor for each target it is tracking. The values it reports range from 0 to 1. It doesn't give exact angles to each target. The field of view is about 40 degrees horizontal and 30 degrees vertical from what I've read.

Here are the components I used:

Micro Maestro 6-Channel USB Servo Controller
SPT200 Pan/Tilt System
Nintendo Wii Remote
Align DS610 Servos
Canon Vixia HF100 HD Camcorder

I wrote the software to command the servo motion. It runs on my laptop because I don't have any experience with embedded programming yet. The software has a control loop which is just servo velocity proportional to the location of the target on the CCD. That makes it move the pan/tilt mount so that the target is in the center of the IR camera. Since the IR camera and HD camera are pointing the same direction, that also centers the target in the HD camera.

It would be smoother with better servos, but the DS610s were cheap and I wasn't sure I'd get this thing to work. If it can see the helicopter from far away and track it successfully, I may upgrade to S9256, BLS251, or BLS451 servos.

These are the LEDs I plan to use on the helicopter... http://www.superbrightleds.com/pdfs/IR-1W-850.pdf
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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Very nice
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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That's going to be pretty cool. Please share your results when you get the heli up!
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:47 PM   #8
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yes, please post results of tracking heli in flight
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:31 PM   #9
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As promised, here are the pictures of the setup and the code. The code needs some extra polishing like data logging, memory management stuff and a smoother startup/shutdown that doesn't swing the camera around wildly and damage the servos, but it's in a working state.

The project is pololu_usb_sdk_ir_tracker\Maestro\MaestroExample\M aestroExample.csproj
Built that then run pololu_usb_sdk_ir_tracker\Maestro\MaestroExample\b in\Release\MaestroExample.exe
The important code is in MainWindow.cs starting at line 139.




Attached Files
File Type: zip pololu_usb_sdk_ir_tracker.zip (600.9 KB, 493 views)
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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Oh, I won't have a video of it tracking a helicopter for a while because the LEDs didn't ship from Hong Kong until today, and I don't think it's EMS shipping.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:21 PM   #11
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Nice innovative project you have there . My girlfriend currenty performs the duty of filming my flight or I stick my camera to my hat . I like your idea . Using the Wii remote is a cool idea .
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:30 PM   #12
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Dude... I need this big time and have been discussing it with Kevin (fireup) for like 6 motnhs. I want to leave a camera setup all day at our flying field to catch flying easy without having to stand there all day! You make a product out of this and I will test it for you no problemo!

AWESOME idea... I had it first though Out of need

Bob
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:46 AM   #13
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Do you think ambient IR would interfere with the sensor, bright sun light?
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:55 AM   #14
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Hi, so is the wii wand connected via bluetooth to the laptop? and if so the software you posted runs this too? i.e. it is getting the x,y co-ordinates via the bluetooth input, please correct me if i am wrong.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:15 AM   #15
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If it tracked a heli well, this would be a huge hit man, and I'm not kidding you! As I never have anyone who can run a camera very good, "sorry to friends who read this"... this would be simply perfect for my needs as well as I am sure MANY of us. I wish you best of luck in getting it to work accurately in tracking a heli throughout all maneuvers!!
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Speirs View Post
Do you think ambient IR would interfere with the sensor, bright sun light?
It absolutely would, and that's one of the things I'm still worried about. I will definitely only try to use it with the sun to the camera's back because the sun would almost definitely show up as a target. I'm hoping the LEDs I ordered will be bright enough to show up as a target on the Wiimote from 100-200 yards away even with a daylight infrared background. The plan was to put one LED on the left side, right side, front, back, top and bottom of the heli, but if that doesn't work, I might try putting two or more in each of those areas. If that STILL doesn't work, I might have to use a regular webcam instead of the Wiimote and try to track the heli using visible light, which would be pretty challenging.

Apache64: That's correct. The software does connect to the Wiimote and read the coordinates from it.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OICU812 View Post
... As I never have anyone who can run a camera very good, "sorry to friends who read this"... this would be simply perfect for my needs as well as I am sure MANY of us. ...
These systems will be the future, no doubt, but for the first time you will need your friends using the zoom on the camcorder. (i think)
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:50 PM   #18
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Default Example project?

Hello,

this is Ryan from Pololu. Cool project. I especially like how you use the USB SDK. Would it be alright if we add your the pictures and video of your project to our community projects page on www.pololu.com?

- Ryan
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:02 PM   #19
wilywampa
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Sure, I'd be honored

Interestingly, I had a friend stay here last night on her way to Vegas. She's going to work for Pololu designing the packaging things get sent in.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:26 PM   #20
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Think twice about that wilywampa.
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