GoPro hack delivers live video feed for piloting your Quadcopter

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The GoPro line of HD cameras seem like they were specifically designed for use with quadcopters. We say that because the small, light-weight video devices present a payload which can be lifted without too much strain, but still have enough horse power to capture video of superb quality. Here’s a hack that uses the camera to provide a remote First Person View so that you may pilot the aircraft when it is out of your line of sight.

The camera in question is a GoPro Hero 3. It differs from its predecessors in that the composite video out port has been moved to a mini USB connector. But it’s still there and just a bit of cable splicing will yield a very clear signal. The image above shows the camera in the middle, connecting via the spliced cable to an FPV transmitter on the right. This will all be strapped to the quadcopter, with the signal picked up by the receiver on the left and piped to a goggle display worn by the pilot. You can see the cable being construction process in the clip after the break.

If you’re looking for other cool stuff to do with your GoPro camera check out the bullet-time work [Caleb] did with ours.

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Bullet time with a single GoPro

Earlier this week I saw a video that was showing how some guys made some really cool bullet time effects with 15 tiny rugged awesome cameras called “GoPros”(that wasn’t a paid endorsement, they’re awesome).  For those unfamiliar, the bullet time effect gained popularity from the first matrix movie. The footage slowed down to slow motion while [Neo] dodged some bullets, but the camera was still able to move around. To do this, they built a massive circular rig and mounted tons of cameras all around. Using these multiple angles, they were able to stitch together the scene in slow motion and “move” the camera.

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Make Your Own Steadycam Mount

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[Ryan] wrote in to tell us about his partially 3D-printed steadycam mount on Instructables. In the video after the break, the camera does stay quite steady through some basic tests. The base is a paint roller handle, and the device works by using a long arm on the bottom with some weights to keep the camera upright. This handle is attached to the weights and camera through a 3-axis Gimbal system that allows the camera to stay relatively steady even if your hand isn’t. A full bill of materials and the needed STL files are provided.

Of course if you’re “old school” and like to use subtractive manufacturing methods, you can always check out this [camera stabilizer] from [Do-It-Yourself Gadgets]. The device works in a nearly identical manner, but the BOM seems to be: metal, screws, threaded rod. There are some cool animated GIFs of it in action on the site, or check out the video after the break.

As a “camera mount” bonus, check out this super easy [GoPro] (or any other small camera) clamp mount.  Really clever. [Read more...]

Operation StratoSphere

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Panoramic photos are nice, however a full 360 degree x 180 degree, or spherical panorama would be even better. [Caleb Anderson] decided to take this concept much further, attempting to extract panoramic photos from video taken at 100,000 feet using a high-altitude balloon and six GoPro cameras.

The overview of this project can be found here, and gives some background. The first task was to start prototyping some payload containers, which for a device that you have little control over once out of your hands is quite critical. As well as some background, there’s a cool interactive panorama of the first test results on this page, so be sure to check it out.

The “real” hacking in this experiment wasn’t a matter of putting a balloon into the stratosphere or recovering it, however. Chaining these images together into pictures was a huge challenge, and involved a diverse set of skills and software knowledge that most of our readers would be proud to possess. There are several videos in the explanation, but we’ve embedded one with the cameras falling out of the sky. Be sure to at least watch until (or skip to) just after 1:05 where all the cameras impressively survive impact! [Read more...]