Controlling a DSLR with a Nintendo DS

At Hack a Day, we’ve seen dozens of intervalometer builds that open and close a camera shutter remotely. [Luke Skaff] decided to take these builds to the next level by automating a camera’s focus and shutter with a Nintendo DS.

[Luke]’s build is based on the Open Camera Controller project that puts the power of an intervalometer, sound trigger, sequencer, and HDR bracket shooting into the hands of professional photogaphers. The Open Camera Controller is built to run on a Nintendo DS with an AVR-based card attached to the Game Boy Advance cartridge port.

The Open Camera Controller attaches to a camera’s shutter port, but [Luke] stepped things up a little bit by using a USB host controller and implementing the picture transfer protocol. Now, instead of [Luke]’s controller telling his camera when to open and close the shutter, the focus of the camera can be adjusted as well. [Luke]’s build uses an Xilinx CoolRunner-II CPLD and a USB host controller to convert the DS cartridge port to a USB port every DSLR can connect to.

[Luke] still has a mess of wires on his hand, but even we can see the power that inexpensive automation would bring to the world of digital photography.

Continue reading “Controlling a DSLR with a Nintendo DS”

Building a digital camera from scratch

Sure, [Stan] could have bought a nice full-frame DSLR like a Canon 5D or a Nikon D3, but where’s the fun in that when he could build his own digital camera? The build isn’t done yet, but [Stan] did manage to take a few sample pics.

The 14 Megapixel sensor [Stan] found was originally used for benchtop applications. There isn’t any reason it can’t be used for photography, so all that needed to be done was design a camera around this sensor.

[Stan] built his hardware around a DSP, an FPGA and a pair of ADCs, an amazing piece of engineering. Of course building a full-frame digital camera has as much to do with mechanics as electronics, so [Stan] used a 60mm cage system and a 3d-printed nylon enclosure.

Of course, [Stan]’s camera doesn’t look much like and off-the-shelf DSLR. There’s a reason for this; the sensor in the camera has a rolling shutter, much like the last few iPhones instead of a focal plane shutter. Not a bad piece of work, we only wish there were more build pics.

Vintage camera retrofit perfect for trolling strangers

vintage_camera_retrofit

[John] likes making things out of unusual junk, and decided to build something for the sole purpose of trolling others. He thought it would be funny to stuff a new digital camera into the body of an old, obsolete camera, just to see how people would react to it.

He considered several different cameras, including a bulky old Polaroid, eventually settling on a far more manageable Argus C3. The camera wasn’t quite big enough to fit his new digicam inside, so he built a mock body using black micarta. He attached the Argus’ front and back to his plastic box, then spent some time fitting his digital camera inside. He transferred knobs from the original camera to his new false body, adding to the authenticity, before taking it out for some test shots.

You can see the final result above, and we think you would be hard pressed to notice that there’s something amiss with his camera unless you spent some time taking a closer look at it. He says that it works well for the most part, and it’s definitely a conversation starter. People are always puzzled by the fact that he is using such and old camera, and doubly so when he tells them it can take about 4,000 shots before he has to “develop” his pictures.

Go ahead, let the kids play with your digital camera… after some additions

Would you throw this camera around on pavement and trust that it wouldn’t get broken? We have a hard time believing it too, but that’s exactly what happens in the video after the break. The colorful add-ons are pieces of Sugru creatively positioned to help protect the camera. From what we’ve seen this adds quite a bit of shock absorption, letting the normally delicate hardware bounce and roll. After all, the stuff is made from Silicone.

It doesn’t look like the protection is meant to be removed from the camera, although we have seen Sugru used for that in the past so this method may be adaptable. A mistake was made during the project which prevented to battery compartment from being opened but it turns out you can peel the stuff of the camera later on, so this isn’t a completely permanent transformation.

We’d wager the camera component to be most concerned with is the LCD screen. We’ve got one that cracked without any plausible cause to point to. But if you’re just reinforcing the device to hand to your kids, who cares if the LCD doesn’t work? It kind of makes it like a film camera again if you have to take all the pictures and then wait to use a computer to “develop them”.

Don’t forget, if you don’t have Sugru on hand you can try mixing your own.

Continue reading “Go ahead, let the kids play with your digital camera… after some additions”

Homebrew weather station plus a pan and tilt camera rig

[Sebastian] wrote in to share his web site, where he has a bunch of different electronics projects. After looking through them, we found a pair that we thought you might find interesting.

The first project is a homebrew weather monitoring station that [Sebastian] put together. He designed a weather shield, incorporating humidity, pressure and light sensors, along with digital I/O ports for monitoring an anemometer. The entire setup is powered using solar panels, and data is relayed to his computer via an Xbee.

The second item that caught our eye was a digital camera pan and tilt rig. The system was built using a Lynxmotion pan and tilt kit, which is controlled by an Arduino. The code he provides allows him to capture very large composite images without having to spend too much time “sewing” them together. While this second project mostly consists of schematics for a base plate and pan/tilt code, it struck us as something that could be very useful for any budding photographers looking to take panoramic shots.

All of the schematics and code for his projects are available on his site, so be sure to look around – you might find something interesting!

LED artwork disappears right before your eyes

take_a_picture_demo

If you walked into an art gallery and saw nothing but blank canvases lining the wall, you might be compelled to demand your money back, or assume that you had discovered the world’s laziest artist. If this gallery happened to be displaying work by [Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements] however, you would be mistaken.

These two artists have collaborated to create a series of works titled, “Take a Picture“. Each picture they have built is constructed to look like an empty canvas when viewed with the naked eye. If you were to take a picture of the canvas with your cell phone or digital camera however, a whole new world would open up in front of your eyes. Their artwork is constructed using infrared LEDs, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, but are visible to nearly any CMOS or CCD sensor on the market. The images range from simple smiley faces and objects to abstract geometric shapes.

It’s a very simple, yet novel approach, and we happen to think it’s pretty cool. The artists have not said what they have planned for this project in the future, but we’d love to see it expanded using larger LED arrays to display higher-resolution images, or even short movies.

Keep reading to see how they went about creating these works of art as well as a promo video demonstrating the effect.

Continue reading “LED artwork disappears right before your eyes”

Remote camera trigger built from air freshener parts

Remote camera trigger assembled front view

[jcopro] took a look at a Glade automatic air freshener he had sitting around and couldn’t help but open it up to determine how the mechanism worked.  After taking it apart, he found that the automated system was comprised of a 3v motor, a series of gears, and a mechanical arm.  When actuated, this arm simply pressed the spray nozzle of the air freshener canister contained within the device.  After some consideration, he decided that the components would make a great remote trigger for his Casio point and shoot camera.  He fabricated a small plywood rig including both the camera and air freshener components, which was able to be mounted on a tripod.  [jcporo] also mentions that the air freshener has the ability to be triggered by a built-in timer.  Although the presets are locked at 9, 18, and 36 minutes, he suggests that a 555 timer could easily be used to add some custom timing intervals when wired to the manual trigger.  Be sure to check out his video of the remote trigger in action.