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iFARM aerial panoramas

by cfastie | | 2,444 views | 3 comments |

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Image above: Newly created habitat for the New England cottontail. Forest along a stream was removed in 2014 and thousands of native shrubs were planted this spring. Stitched from 11 mostly oblique photos (so this is more of a bowl than a map).
After two iFARM days of grounded kites, a Sunday breeze lifted the nine foot Levitation Delta and a brand new KAP rig. The Saturn V Rig is my first pan-tilt rig with motorized control of the camera's view direction. The frame is a beefed up version of the Redstone Rig with a superstructure for holding a servo and gear assembly to pan the rig for a 360° view. A second servo tilts the camera tray. The servos are operated and the camera shutter is triggered by an on board microcontroller based on an Arduino Nano. Don Blair designed a circuit board which breaks out the required pins, supplies ample regulated power, and allows eight different control scripts to be field selected. The first iteration of the SkyShield performed beautifully fresh from OSHPark.
The Saturn V Rig with battery case, two servos, SkySweep controller, and 3D printed gear assembly.
Although everything was in place for a perfect maiden flight, I decided not to tighten the set screw holding the big gear to the Picavet shaft when I noticed it was loose on launch. This was a really bad decision. That gear slipped a little every time the pan servo tried to turn, so the rig did not pan as much as it needed to. The camera never captured a full 360° view in the eight allotted photos in each row. So it was not possible to stitch a full half-spherical panorama from the photos. Plenty of lesser panoramas were hidden among the 550 photos taken in the 30 minute flight. And I clawed out one almost half spherical panorama which is embedded below from Photosynth.
Eight photos from one rank of the "pan 8, tilt 4" pattern the rig was executing. Stitched in Microsoft ICE.
Ten photos stitched in ICE. The pond got an extra dock in the stitching process.

Next time that set screw will be very tight. I will post more about the Saturn V and SkySweep soon.


Nice results.

excited about the SkyShield!

I'm excited too Mathew. The Saturn Rig Kit and SkyShield Kit could make a great package for under $150. Add a camera and you have a nice autoKAP setup for way less than I have seen elsewhere. I think I will put a couple beta units of the whole working setup at the KAPtery in a few days. Maybe kits too. It's already at Thingiverse:

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