Gadgeteer plant monitor wants it wet and photogenic

gadgeteer-plant-monitor

[Christian] is growing a tomato plant on his desk and wanted to capture some time-lapse images of its progress. To that end he built a rig that monitors moisture levels and snaps images at regular intervals.

The hardware he’s using is part of the Gadgeteer family. These run a .NET micro framework and are modular which makes for easy assembly. A laser-cut plywood stand helps to position the camera module for the best shots. Its takes a picture of the seedling once every ten minutes. There is a quartet of RGB LEDs surrounding the lens. They help illuminate the subject for each picture. But [Christian] also mentions that the red LEDs provide light the plant needs to grow (we raise an eyebrow at that claim, but in truth we have no idea if red LEDs make plants grow or not). There is also a moisture sensor which you can see inserted in the soil.

The images and moisture readings are all pushed to a server. There is an Ethernet board near the base of the rig. It uses POST to send the image, which is saved by a server-side script. The moisture data is sent via a GET command.

Taking moving time-lapse images over days at a time

It’s neat to watch these lilies open and close during the time-lapse movie. But what makes it even better is to see the camera slowly move during the time-lapse event. It’s thanks to a special dolly which the photographers built for this purpose.

The system is based on two curved and inclined pipes which make up the rails of the system. The dolly that rides along the rails has a geared motor on it which turns at 2 RPM. This is used as a winch, spooling a string that is tied to the high-end of the rail system. As the winch winds the string, the dolly slowly moves along the track.

To make this work over multiple days they covered all of the windows in foil and lighted the room with fluorescent fixtures. An intervalometer was used to trigger the camera every three minutes. An Arduino monitors the camera’s shutter LED via a light dependent resistor. Sixty seconds after an image is take the Arduino will drive the dolly motor for a few seconds

The finished video, as well as a hardware show-and-tell, can be seen after the break.

[Read more...]

Simple power adapter thumbs its nose at proprietary connectors

[Mike Worth] wanted to use his camera for some time-lapse photography. Since it’s used to take many pictures over a long period of time, he doesn’t want to deal with batteries running low. But there’s no standard power jack on the side; instead the official charger consists of an adapter that is inserted in place of the batteries. Rather than break the bank with the special cable, [Mike] made his own battery compartment A/C adapter.

You can see that it is made up of two parts. The first is a standard wall wart that outputs the correct voltage and has an acceptable current rating. The other part is the adapter cable that connects to the camera on one end, and has a barrel jack on the other. [Mike] rolled some paperboard around a pencil until it matched the diameter of a AA battery. Once of the cylinders has a thumb tack for the negative lead, and the other uses a screw and washer for the positive side. He soldered some wire to these and he’s in business.

He must be snapping photos frequently enough to avoid the auto-shutoff feature. That or he’s disabled it with the use of some custom firmware.

Hackaday Links May 13th 2012

Amazing ass… for a robot

Yep, Japan still has the creepy robotics market cornered. Case in point is this robotic posterior. Don’t worry, they’ve included a dissection so you can see how the insides work too. [via Gizmodo]

Time-lapse camera module results

As promised, [Quinn Dunki] sent in a link to the photo album from her time lapse camera module. In case you missed it, she built it in a Tic Tac container and stuck it to the side of a racecar.

Kinect controlled killbot

Didn’t we learn anything from RoboCop? We could totally see this Kinect controlled robot (which happens to weigh five tons) going out of control and liquefying an unsuspecting movie extra standing near it. [via Dvice]

Laser popping domino balloons

apparently [Scott] has set a world record by using a laser to pop a line of 100 red balloons. We enjoy seeing the size of the 1W laser that does the popping… it can’t be long now before we get a hold of handheld laser pistols. [via Gizmodo]

Laser balloon targeting

If that last one was a bit of a let down, you might enjoy this automatic targeting system more. The blue triangle shaped icon is setting a target, the amber triangles have already been targeted. Once all the balloons are identified a laser quickly zaps each in order. Quite impressive, although no details have been provided. [Thanks everyone who sent in a link to this]

http://gizmodo.com/5909007/we-hope-lasers-popping-hundreds-of-balloons-is-the-new-dominos-fad

Autonomous time lapse with a video camera throwie

When [Matt] came across a small video camera made to fit onto a keychain, the first thing that came to mind is a time-lapse video throwie. Like the LED + coin cell battery + magnet we’ve seen we’ve seen before (and deployed…), [Matt]‘s video throwie would be deployed in interesting spots for a few days and shoot a time-lapse video until the battery ran out.

The camera [Matt] picked up has the capability of shooting video or still pictures and writing them to a microSD card. To make his camera film a time-lapse video, [Matt] connected an ATtiny45 to the camera shutter and power buttons and uploaded a short bit of code that would snap a picture ever 15 seconds.

Right now, [Matt] is having a few problems with his video throwie. When the camera is turned on, it iterates through the SD card to find the next unused file name. This eats up a few seconds, so the current setup will slowly speed up the time-lapse video. This isn’t an insurmountable problem, so we’re looking forward to the very interesting videos these tough little cameras will film.

Check out [Matt]‘s video of ice melting after the break.

[Read more...]

808 camera hack produces a time-lapse Tic Tac box

It’s not really conceived as a spy cam, but it could be. [Quinn Dunki] built this tiny time-lapse camera project with racing in mind. She’s involved in a group that endurance races clunkers, and part of the fun is sharing the experience of riding around in the old beaters. The module seen above takes a picture every four seconds and will last 24 hours before needing new batteries or an SD card change. We wonder if that’s longer than some of the ‘racecars’ make it?

She picked up an 808 camera, which looks like the key fob you use to unlock your car doors. They’re so cheap you can include them in projects and not really care if you don’t get them back. Inside it’s got a small lithium battery, the circuit board with a processor, microSD card slot, and of course the SSD used to capture the images. To control the device she used a tiny relay with an ATtiny13 used for the timing. We think the battery selection is a bit overboard, but maybe the next version will be a little more conservative.

There was one folly along the way. She wanted to attach this to the body of the car with a handful of magnets. But they don’t play nicely with the magnetic relays so that was out. The solution was to add that lanyard ring to the case which will allow the camera to be zip tied to the vehicle. So far there are no time-lapse movies available, but keep your eyes on our links posts and we’ll try to include one when it pops up.

Hackaday Links March 8th, 2012

Solder Your Pin headers Straight

straight-header solder

If you’re worried about how to solder your pin headers straight, why not try this simple trick and put them into a breadboard before soldering?

Etiquette for Open Source Projects

soapbox Phillip Torrone

If you use or develop open source projects, it’s worth checking out [Phillip Torrone]‘s Unspoken rules of Open Source article. You may not HAVE to do all the things he says, but it’s certainly a good starting point for being ethical with your hacks.

The [GoAmateur] Camera Mount

go-amateur camera mount for bike

If you can’t afford a professional camera mount for your bike, why not make one yourself? As pointed out in the article, normal cameras aren’t really made for this, so do so at your own risk. If this isn’t shoddy enough for you, why not make a mount for your 4 year old dumb-phone (Env2) out of a block of wood?

A 3D Printer BOM

If you’re wondering how much a 3D printer will cost you, or where to source the parts, this Bill of Materials for a Prusa Mendel should help. We would assume this project will be updated as everything is built, so be sure to check back!

MakerBot Assembly Time-Lapse

makerbot time lapse

Along the same lines, if you’re wondering about getting into 3D printing, this time-lapse of the Thing-O-Matic being assembled may give you some insight into what’s involved in getting one functional!