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Imaging

What's the point in sending a mission to near-space, and not coming back with some nice holiday pictures?  That's where the imaging subsystem comes in.  We want as many eyes up there as we can cram into the box.

 

We now have the startings of an imaging subsystem - to be precise, two 14 MPix cameras (£45 each) and a 5 MPix video camera (£55) from, of all places, Aldi!  Oh, and the camera on the smartphone, too, if we decide to use it.

The Aldi cameras are very lightweight (although we've not weighed them yet - exact numbers to follow).  We haven't yet looked at the video camera.

The first order of business will be to work out if we're better off dismantling them and using the components, or whether they'll be hacked and put back together.  The LCD displays will have to be defeated for a start, as they're a considerable drain on power, and it would be good to control the shutter buttons remotely if possible.  The cameras do have a neat take-a-pic-every-10s feature that we might just exploit, but in order to avoid running out of storage in flight, it might need a reduction in image quality.  It would be a shame to go to space, get pictures, and they're really rubbish quality, so the remote shutter trigger (whether electronically or mechanical, driven by the CCP using a servo of some sort) might still be the best option.

We can control the smarphone's camera programmatically, to select whether and when to record video or snapshots, of course.

What's taxing our minds at the moment is whether to expose the lenses to the ambient temperatures of space, or put something like a perspex viewport in front - perhaps with a warming coil to prevent icing.  More research needed...

[Later note: 2012-04-16]

We've abandoned the Aldi Traveler (their spelling) cameras, both stills and video.  The stills cameras are way too fragile: we can't even rely on the lens protection irises opening at room temperature, and after a lot of ground trials, we've concluded that they just generally don't seem too reliable.  The video camera is a little on the heavy side anyway, and won't work without having the flip-out LCD screen flipped out - and it's now so beloved of one of our crew that we've donated it. :)  In their place, we now have a couple of high-robustness VGA video cameras (Chilli Technology Action Cam #3) that look much more promising, if only at VGA resolution.  Since they're only 68 grams apiece, we can afford to use them as backup to some higher-res imaging tech that we're still evaluating.  We'll probably use the onboard camera for the Instrument Control Processor as well - if you've got it, why not use it?

Last Updated (Thursday, 19 April 2012 17:31)