Every now and then someone gets seriously inspired, and that urge just doesn’t go away until something gets created. For [Paulius Liekis], it led to creating a roughly 1:20 scale version of the T08A2 Hexapod “Spider” Tank from the movie Ghost in the Shell. As the he puts it, “[T]his was something that I wanted to build for a long time and I just had to get it out of my system.” It uses two Raspberry Pi computers, 28 servo motors, and required over 250 hours of 3D printing for all the meticulously modeled pieces – and even more than that for polishing, filing, painting, and other finishing work on the pieces after they were printed. The paint job is spectacular, with great-looking wear and tear. It’s even better seeing it in motion — see the video embedded below.
If you’re looking to build the next creepy Halloween decoration or simply thinking about trying out OpenCV for the first time, this next project will have you covered. [Glen] made a pair of giant googly eyes that follow you around the room using some servos and some very powerful software.
The project was documented in three parts. In Part 1, [Glen] models and builds the eyes themselves, including installing the servo motors that will eventually move them around. The second part involves an Arduino and power supply that will control the servos, and the third part goes over using OpenCV to track faces.
This part of the project is arguably the most interesting if you’re new to OpenCV; [Glen] uses this software package to recognize different faces. From there, the computer picks out the most prominent face and sends commands to the Arduino to move the eyes to the appropriate position. The project goes into great detail, from Arduino code to installing Ubuntu to running OpenCV for the first time!
We’ve featured some of [Glen]’s projects before, like his FPGA-driven LED wall, and it’s good to see he’s still making great things!
A team of mechanical and electrical engineering students at Olin College came up with a very fun semester project — a pneumatic powered marshmallow cannon that can track faces, and aim for the mouth!
The device — dubbed the Confectionery Canon — is an impressive mechanical build which required many of Olin College’s manufacturing resources such as the laser cutter, the mill, and the lathe. The majority of the device was made out of acrylic, which was chosen for easy laser cutting, and affordability. Specific aluminum pieces provide strength and were made using mostly scrap found in the shop.
Four servos, a webcam, a solenoid and an Arduino Uno make up the electrical system, which uses Python and OpenCV to track faces (GitHub). A PVC tank is used as the pneumatic reservoir, charged with a safety release valve at 30PSI. To fire the cannon, a sprinkler valve is controlled by a beefy solenoid. It currently only has a magazine capacity of 4 large marshmallows, but the team is planning on upgrading soon.
They have put together a great website with tons of information on the project, and following the break is a fun promo video they made for the project — they even got the VP of the college to try it!
[Bruce Land], professor at Cornell, is a frequent submitter to our tip line. Usually he sends in a few links every semester from undergraduate electronics courses. Now the fall semester is finally over and it’s time to move on to the more ambitious master’s projects.
First up is a head-mounted eye tracker, [Anil Ram Viswanathan] and [Zelan Xiao] put together a lightweight and low-cost eye tracking project that will record where the user is looking.
The eye tracker hardware is made of two cameras mounted on a helmet. The first camera faces forward, looking at the same thing the user is. The second camera is directed towards the user’s eye. A series of algorithms detect the iris of the user’s eye and overlays the expected gaze position on the output of the first camera. Here’s the design report. PDF, natch.
Next up is a face tracking project implemented on an FPGA. This project started out as a software implementation of a face tracking algorithm in MATLAB. [Thu-Thao Nguyen] translated this MATLAB code to Verilog and eventually got her hardware running on an FPGA dev board. Another design report.
Having a face detection and tracking system running on an FPGA is extremely interesting; the FPGA makes face tracking a very low power and hopefully lower-cost solution, allowing it to be used in portable and consumer devices.
You can check out the videos for these projects after the break.
This Android device can recognize faces and move to keep them in frame. It’s a proof of concept that uses commonly available parts and software packages.
The original motivation for the project was [Dan O’s] inclination to give the OpenCV software a try. OpenCV is an Open Source Computer Vision package that takes on the brunt of the job when it comes to discerning meaning from images. To give the phone the power to move he designed and printed his own mounting brackets for the phone and a couple of hobby servos. An IOIO board connects to the Android device in order to control the motors. On the software side all [Dan] needed to do was write some code to interface the output of the OpenCV face tracking modules with the input of the IOIO. See the finished project demonstration after the jump.
This system can easily be implemented with other hardware, like this Arduino-based version we looked at earlier in the year.
[Marco] has had some fun with OpenCV in the area of face tracking. Using an older laser project, he has cobbled together a system that will track a face and put a laser on it. While he is just using this as a proof of concept, it goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t mount a laser on a face tracker. However, stuffing this into a myKeepon wouldn’t be a horrible thing.
[Marco] shares the process of getting the OpenCV bit working in this writeup, you’ll have to refer back to his laser gun project for the physical build.
If you are looking to do some face tracking and don’t know where to start, this explanation of how to do it with X10 modules could be pretty helpful. Aside from having, what some could consider to be, the absolute most annoying website ever for a company, X10 also makes modular systems for home automation. X10 also refers to the industry standard for home automation, so sometimes just saying you did something with X10 can get confusing. He is using the SDK to write custom code for the tracking, which you can download from the project page.