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parallax
08-06-2010, 02:17 PM
I've been working on a new incarnation of my hex, Ally. I'm attempting to take all of the lessons I learned based on my first attempt and apply them to the rebuild. Ally's primary (actually, only) means of perceiving the world was through her video camera, and she did it rather well. Here is an early video of her doing some face detection via OpenCV:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbEUJaVoX8k

As you can see in the video, in the original build she used a very cheap wireless security camera I managed to salvage, and it worked well in low interference environments. I don't have the original data sheet and there aren't any good identifiers on it so I have had trouble tracking it down. What I can tell you is that it has a base station receiver (which outputs to a RCA video out), runs in 640x480 resolution, and outputs a black and white image in PAL format. The camera runs off of a 9 volt battery, and the base station runs off of a 12 volt AC adapter. Furthermore, the base station has a tuner which allows you to "dial in" the image.

This worked somewhat well with the following given exceptions:

*The signal was very prone to interference.
*There was a significant amount of setup involved (base station, AC adapter, video capture hardware, tuning in the right frequency, etc.)

What I would like to know is if you can recommend an alternative solution to the current camera setup I have. I know that many people are using the Trendnet cameras for mech-warfare, but the Trendnet would be a bit overkill for what I will be doing with my as-of-yet-unnamed rebuild. I have come to the conclusion that I am looking for something with the following characteristics:

*Small footprint
*Low power consumption
*At least a 320x240 resolution (this is really all I need *as far as I can tell*)
*IP based
*Affordable, meaning <$100
*Color output is nice, but not necessary

I will be using it for navigation and object detection purposes. If you all have any input or know of anything off hand that fits those specifications, or if you have any clarifying questions I would appreciate your comments.

Thanks!

parallax

mannyr7
08-06-2010, 02:43 PM
Everyone of us in the mech-warfare camp have pretty much the same requirements as you. I think if there were such an animal, we'd be all over it! I'm wondering if a gumstix verdex with a tiny board camera would be capable of running V4L and transmitting over wifi?

lnxfergy
08-06-2010, 03:14 PM
*Small footprint
*Low power consumption
*At least a 320x240 resolution (this is really all I need *as far as I can tell*)
*IP based
*Affordable, meaning <$100
*Color output is nice, but not necessary


As far as I know, the Trendnet is the smallest/lightest wireless IP cam that actually works. Many of the other low cost IP cams are quite heavy. The power consumption really isn't too bad, and I imagine any wifi device broadcasting that much data will consume a similar amount. While there may be smaller cameras out there, they will most certainly set you back more than $100.

And because I'm sure someone will jump on my for being a Trendnet pusher -- if you want to be sure your camera works, and you've only got $100 to spend -- it's probably on of the best ways to go. Several of us have spent more money to experiment with other solutions, but have all pretty much ended up back at the Trendnet.

(Manny, you could probably make a verdex do this job -- but it's going to be extra code to write and debug, and, you're not going to build such a thing for <$100)

-Fergs

parallax
08-06-2010, 03:33 PM
Thanks for your speedy replies, guys! So what I am gathering is that I'm kinda stuck with the old camera at this point without doing some redesign (i.e. upgrading my servos) which I'm not really in a position to do- at least for the kind of money it would cost. I'm pushing it with the kind of load I will be putting on them anyway, and the Trendnet is significantly heavier/larger than my current solution.

I will keep the Trendnet in mind for future builds, though. (as well as AX-12s ;) )

DresnerRobotics
08-06-2010, 03:37 PM
You could pick up my Wifi IP Encoder board in my garage sale and add any small camera you want to it. :D

parallax
08-06-2010, 03:45 PM
Now that's an interesting thought! Looks like the footprint is a little larger, but it's flatter.... I have to run for a bit but I will be back online in a few hours. Is the datasheet on the website?

DresnerRobotics
08-06-2010, 04:32 PM
I'm not even sure where the datasheet is, it's a larger footprint but I think you could mount it inside your chassis. I can get you exact specs on it. The nice thing is that the camera for it is entirely separate.