Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The project has been subdivided into different tasks.
Summaries of the tasks so far:

Design and fabrication of the GeoCam housing - GeoCam will be attached to a bracket, which will be mounted to a rectangular aluminum box. So far, half of the aluminum box has been fabricated.

Preparation for integration of GeoCam with the HASP balloon in Louisiana - A checklist of tests we need perform must be created to insure that GeoCam is working properly once it has been integrated

  1. Plug into Power Supply
  2. Correct any Power Issues
  3. Check Timing of Servos
  4. Correct Timing Issues
  5. Mount Camera
  6. Take Several Pictures
  7. See how pictures turn out

Servo Controls - Two servos are being programed for use: the program for one of the servos has been finished and is going rotate the camera during the flight, the second is going to serve as a mechanical finger to push the button on the camera to take pictures. The GeoCam camera can take a set number of up to 10 pictures continuously. The button on the camera must be pushed for each set of pictures, which is the purpose of the second servo.

Power Connection - The power supplied being delivered from the balloon is more than we need for our components so it had to be stepped down to the desired voltages. This was not a huge problem for our servos but the 7.4 V camera posed a challenge.

Design and implementation of the swinging element - The camera will rotated back and forth at timed intervals to insure that the images taken will not be duplicates. The rotation will be controlled by a servo that is programmed to rotate at the set interval. The arms will have some type of stiff wiring running from the servo arm to the camera. When the servo arm rotates it will push or pull on the camera, thus swinging the camera.

Design and implementation of a clicker - We need a mechanical finger to trigger the image taking process while the camera is in flight. Our solution was to have a metal piece connected to the arm of a servo. When the arm rotates the metal piece presses the button on the camera.

Design thermal insulation for the camera - There are temperature constraints with our camera; it has a functioning range of 0-40 degrees Celcius. The temperatures that GeoCam will encounter while be lower than the operating temperature. That means that we will probably need sometime of insulation to keep the camera from shutting off.

Programming the microprocessor and integrating the electrical components - The actual microprocessor is what is being programmed to control the two servos. The compiler we were using only allowed a certain number of lines in the programming. The limited amount of lines made it difficult to program the servos to be synchronized. All of the power and electrical components have to be connected onto one circuit board.

Design and implement a data processing capability to display information from HASP into google maps - One of our most difficult challenges will be processing the images from the camera so that they can be used in correspondence with google maps. GPS technology located in the balloon's paylod will aid in the superimposing of the images onto current maps.

1 comment:

Shravan said...

Very interesting. I was wondering what your plan was with regard to tagging the images with accurate GPS co-ordinates. Are you planning to synchronize clocks on the camera and the balloon? Or is the Geocam plugged in with the balloon's onboard systems?