Call For Project

Virtual Gimbal Camera

No moving parts, less drag, easy waterproofing.

by Fredrik Falkan, SSRS

Subject Rescue, Search
Status Starting up
Results Working Prototype
Owner Type Rescue organizations

A gyro stabilized gimbal camera on a UAV offers very smooth, straight horizon video even in turbulent conditions. It also offers the ability to choose the point of interest, either manually or – with the right software – by assigning a position or a visual target to look at.

This awesomeness comes at the price of bulk, weight, aerodynamic drag and difficulty in waterproofing, all of which are big deals for a small maritime Search & Rescue plane which would usually be landed in salt water.

High quality, super wide field of view, ultra high definition cameras have become mainstream, thanks to GoPro and others.

Would it be possible to design a system where high resolution wide field of view video could be digitally processed to mimic a gyro stabilized, gimbal mounted normal field of view camera?

Some consumer cameras like the 360 Fly, Luna, … offer parts of this functionality, but in these devices panning of the video takes place on the viewing device, which means that the full frame has to be transmitted to the viewer. This would be highly impractical for streaming over a limited bandwidth connection like a cell network. To efficiently use a limited bandwidth the system must transmit only the portion of the frame that is of interest.

 

Here are some wishes for a virtual gimbal camera system

  • Field of view 180 degrees downward, 360 degrees around (mounting under the belly of a fixed wing plane)
  • A super wide angle lens, or cluster of lenses, preferably >180
  • A high definition sensor/s, preferably 4K or more, to enable good resolution cropped video
  • High input frame rate if it would help giving smooth stabilized video
  • Low light capability is a huge plus
  • Small, light, waterproof/able
  • Built in gyro / attitude sensor
  • Realtime onboard image processing for attitude, point of interest cropping and flattening
  • Realtime compression
  • Onboard full frame recording
  • Low power consumption
  • Standard gimbal control protocol (Mavlink?)

Stretch wishes

  • Realtime bandwidth dependent adaptive resolution
  • Night vision mode
  • Infrared mode
  • Visual target lock
  • GPS/AIS position lock

 

360-fly-2014-10-24-03

360 Fly Camera

 

Inspiration and links

C-Astral target lock demo

Imint Vidhance digital stabilization

Storm Gimbal Controller

SkyDrone

 

360 Cameras

Luna

360 fly

Kodak Pixpro

Bublcam

V.360

Nokia OZO

Sphericam

Dot

Tamaggo Ibi

Centr

Who is behind the project?

This is a project call from the Innovation office at Swedish Sea Rescue Society, SSRS. The SSRS is a non-profit organization that performs 70% of sea rescues in Sweden thanks to more than 2000 volunteers . Our constitution says that we are to:

  • Further the interest in sea rescue matters
  • Propose ways to improve sea rescue
  • Perform sea rescue operations

The person proposing this project is me, Fredrik Falkman. I’m an industrial designer by training working for the SSRS with development projects and general innovation.

Contact

If you have any questions about this project, you can send the project owner a message from here.

Comments

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