Adding pan and tilt to a webcam

[Brent] and his wife wanted a way to provide more family time for Grandparents that lived far away. They tried a webcam, but their daughter just didn’t oblige by staying in the frame. Instead of chasing her around the room with with the camera he added pan and tilt features to the device. He settled on IR control using a common television remote, similar to our USB remote control receiver tutorial except that it drives servo motors instead of forwarding signals over the serial connection. [Brent] used a Picaxe 08M, connecting two servos together as a base on top of the project box. If you try this yourself there’s a lot of room to grow. Once you’ve assembled the hardware it wouldn’t be too hard to make this web enabled so that Grandpa can click on a web interface to look around the room.

Comments

  1. Abbott says:

    Cool! Nice and (fairly) simple, I like it.

  2. PCB Assembly says:

    Slick idea!

  3. Beige says:

    Ultimately you could allow control over the internet, perhaps using serial from the PC which would host a page with controls. Grandpa could then pan and tilt adding an extra bit of interactivity.

  4. cmholm says:

    For web-based steering, an alternative would be a couple of Phidgets-controlled servos via one of their language interfaces, Java or Python being the most obvious. They used to support Perl, but I didn’t put enough work into a CGI to get it working remotely.

  5. davi jordan says:

    Thanx for the code. I needed some good code for servos. I plan to translate it to freebasic and use the parallel port for servo control. Give the web server something else to do.

  6. Whatnot says:

    Pity he also relies on the webcam for pictures of the project.
    He needs to treat himself to something better.

  7. Brent says:

    Whatnot, you’re absolutely right and I have replaced the pictures and added several others of much better quality.

  8. strider_mt2k says:

    I’ve used paired servos for a P/T camera mount and it works remarkably well.
    I worked my own up and used it on a couple of wheeled ROVs with great success.

  9. lukethemachine says:

    Weird Deja-vu, I actually just finished my own version of this kind of thing yesterday: http://stonelinks.org/archives/856

    Unfortunately it is more me ranting about an idea I had, but you get the basic idea of what is going on from the pictures. If people are interested I’d do a tech write up / provide code.

    I’m using php (sorry everyone) to communicate with the MC, mjpg-streamer for the video feed, and ajax/jquery to make everything look awesome. I have plans to expand the whole thing out into an awesome robot if I get time over winter break.

  10. Anonymous says:

    but does it tweet?

  11. keen101 says:

    just use two pir motion sensors to actually track the girl. It’s in the 101 spy gadgets for evil geniuses book. (page 90)

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