Build A Google-style Panorama Rig For $300


As part of a “disruptive technologies” course at the United States Military Academy, [Roy D. Ragsdale] produced a working prototype of a Google Street View-like system called PhotoTrail. Like its corporate-backed inspiration, the system captures georeferenced 360-degree panoramas that can be viewed interactively in a web browser…but at a hardware cost of only around $300. [Ragsdale’s] prototype is based entirely on consumer-grade off-the-shelf components and open source software, all tied together by the yin and yang of DIY: foam core board and a few Python scripts.

This article from IEEE Spectrum magazine provides some background on the selection of parts and construction of the system, including a hardware shopping list and a list of links to all of the open source packages used.

The PhotoTrail prototype is surprisingly small and lightweight. A vehicle isn’t even required; the camera array can be carried overhead by a single person, making it possible to capture remote locations. But [Roy] expects future revisions to be even smaller and less obtrusive, perhaps mounted to a headband. Mount Everest awaits!

GigaPixel Panorama


[Ewout] sent us some info on this Automated Gigapixel Panorama Acquisition system.  The system automates the process of taking the large amounts of images required to do gigapixel panoramics. You tell it key information, like what lens, and what percent overlap you want and the system will calculate how many images it will take, as well as the gigapixel count. The results are quite stunning, no visible seams with fantastic detail.  Interestingly, this was created for a class in embedded system design (ECE4180) at Georgia Institute of Technology and so was our post earlier today on Digitally Assisted Billiards. Is Hack a Day part of the class curriculum? It should be.