Gyro controlled video via R/C plane


[Mark] couldn’t resist sending this in, and I can see why. It turns out that this is made from off the shelf parts, but the functionality is awesome. The pilot wears a video headset – igoggles, etc, and has a gyro/accelerometer sensor mounted on it that outputs commands to the R/C transmitter. On the plane, a servo pan tilt camera matches position based on the viewers head motions. Just about all the components are listed in the credits at the end, but you can use any RF camera and a transmitter with enough channels to run the extra servos.

21 thoughts on “Gyro controlled video via R/C plane

  1. Brilliant, but I wonder how long most users will last before the vestibular occular discontinuity causes severe motion sickness.

  2. @ monopole
    Depending on the altitude and speed it might be under the threshold of most people. That is to say that as the plane goes higher, the ground seems to move less, thus at a certain point, the sensation will be too low to cause discontinuity, and the less than desirable traits that follow.

  3. I think that a great next step for this project would be to run the gyro input straight to the plane’s controls and just fix the camera to look straight ahead. When I had a rc plane, it just ran on throttle and rudder input, so this gyro should be able to fly basic rc planes at least

  4. Absolutely great. With the dissapointing progess of VR these days, I think the logical replacement is immersive remote viewing. I’ve been working on a homebrew NVG/remote viewing setup based on the $25 HMD you posted a while back. It’s even simpler than this but it’s still a blast.

  5. Wow, that is an excellent hack. Although this isn’t new. It’s still very good.

    I’m especially impressed with the distance between the plan and the guy. No video cuts.

  6. “Brilliant, but I wonder how long most users will last before the vestibular occular discontinuity causes severe motion sickness.”
    No problem even after a 50min flight, or several in 1 day. Never heard of someone experiencing this in the community. As long as all the controls don’t lag, it’s no issue.

  7. @felix: That can be done in 5 minutes. However, it’s nothing like natural anymore. Are you really used to fly a plane by moving your head? No, you naturally move the head to look around even without thinking of it (which we can see when no head tracking system is used, people still move their head around where they would like to look, even if it doesn’t work). It would feel really weird to have to go against that natural reflex. Very tiring.
    @nick: Low flight is not a problem either. http://youtube.com/watch?v=-3RI0WrzbV4

  8. I have added up the total cost for parts:
    having scrounged through many sites and searched many products, the grand total should come out to be around $1,500 with shipping.
    However, the base electronic hardware can also be used in virtually any plane you want. It’s a pretty simple “hack”, even for a novice like me.

    But honestly, It’s gotta be so cool to have your own personal UAV.

  9. hey, this rocks, but couldn’t seem to find all the parts. would be cool if some one could shoot these to me. also I didn’t see a schematic? I know no pain no gain. I understand that the head (gyro that controls the pan, tilt, etc,.) unit is separate from the control of the aircraft.

  10. @patman: Would you mind sharing that list? Pretty please? :D My friend is into r/c planes and we’d like to try this, though we may not have the budget for it. I’m guessing the most expensive piece is the HMD. I believe I’ve seen some HMDs that were ~$250, maybe not the best quality, but we’re just interested in getting working video. Even a black-and-white display would be fine as long as it’s made for both eyes.

  11. Controlling the pan/tilt on a camera on an RC plane has been around for quite a while, the guy who made that video & setup posts on the forums at http://www.rc-cam.com which contains a mine of information about what electronics to use, what LCD glasses etc.
    I’ve had a wireless camera on my RC car for years, it’s great fun to fire it up and drive around 2 inches above the ground using LCD glasses.

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