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'[EE]:Project - CCD CAM + radio modem ?'
2001\09\07@184320 by Ian Hynes

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PICers,

A thousand pardons for sending this twice!! Just realised I omitted
the [EE]: tag .. J. Newton esq will NOT be pleased!   :(

OK, I'm kicking round an idea for a cool PIC project & could really
use some advice.

This pal of mine says he can get his hands on radio modems. They work
up in the mid - high UHF & apparently they're configurable to
interface with
just about anything.

I got to wondering about interfacing a camera to one so you could send
images via the radio link & capture them on a PC or laptop. I'm sorta
thinking you could set the cam up in a remote location and control it
from the PC. Maybe even from the internet? Has anyone done anything
like that?

Trouble is I don't know too much about those little digital cam
thingys that you use with PCs & how to suck the image data out of
them. Anyone got a web site where they talk about the ins & outs of
that? I'd probably need to know something about USB if a computer is
involved at the Rx end. Any sites with a bit of info/tutes on that
would be appreciated.

Thnax for any pointers - Ian

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2001\09\07@191839 by Brandon Fosdick

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Ian Hynes wrote:
> This pal of mine says he can get his hands on radio modems. They work
> up in the mid - high UHF & apparently they're configurable to
> interface with
> just about anything.

Have you thought about using one of those X10 cameras? Yeah, I know the
ads are annoying, but it might do what you want. The transmitter is
built in and I imagine its controlled with standard X10 codes.

I don't think there are any PIC's that can handle video though. I could
be wrong.

There's a digital still cam (Sony?) that has a serial port interface for
control and scripting. Not sure if it can download over that or not. A
friend of mine has one, I've never really messed with it.

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2001\09\07@202256 by Wade Carpenter

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Hello.

In fact, I have just started to work on such a project with my classmates.
Actually, we dreamed up apparently the exact thing you are doing, with the
addition of a robot to run the camera around the room.  So we have the idea
of hooking up a camera to provide some visual feedback, and then control
through the internet.  Wireless connection to the robot with the camera.  I
found some RF transceiver modules (~$100 USD or so) that go up to about
33.6kbps, and some other modules that only go 5kbps for considerably less.
But it seems you may have that side covered.

I think the suggestion about the X10 may be a good one.  Generally, 33.6kbps
is not sufficient for transmitting the camera images.  For example, 320x240
resolution at 8bpp = 644400 bits by 33.6*1024 = 18 seconds.  then 5kbps is
about 120 seconds!!  This is the problem I've run into so far.

Cameras that I've considered using are generally these little CMOS or CCD
sensor modules.  The nice ones have the optics (lenses and what not) built
in already, and generally a simple interface.  One for example, you send one
pulse to "open the shutter" and another to close, and that gives the charge
time for the CCD (for example), and then it basically works like an analog
shift register sending out the analog values at whatever clock frequency you
supply it.

But I think any image processing (compression even) should have to be done
on the PC, which is not ideal for a wireless link.  It seems that there's no
way we can have streaming video for sure (which was our original intent!!).

Anyway, I hope some of that may help.  That embodies most of what research I
have completed so far.

- Wade
{Original Message removed}

2001\09\07@224110 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>But I think any image processing (compression even) should have to be done
>on the PC, which is not ideal for a wireless link.  It seems that there's no
>way we can have streaming video for sure (which was our original intent!!).

       Why not transmit analog baseband signal + digital data embbeded in the analog signal?


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2001\09\08@090707 by Olin Lathrop

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> I think the suggestion about the X10 may be a good one.  Generally,
33.6kbps
> is not sufficient for transmitting the camera images.  For example,
320x240
> resolution at 8bpp = 644400 bits by 33.6*1024 = 18 seconds.  then 5kbps is
> about 120 seconds!!  This is the problem I've run into so far.

Just about all the digital still cameras use some form of JPEG compression.
You can easily get 10:1 compression with surprising decent looking results.
Compression ratios can be much higher for the "low quality" settings.


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Olin Lathrop, embedded systems consultant in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, EraseMEolinspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTembedinc.com, http://www.embedinc.com

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2001\09\08@114159 by Marc Reinig

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I don't know of any sites, but I know both digital cameras and USB, so if
you have any questions, I can probably help you out.

You  say you want to send images so I assume you mean still images not video
and there is no pressure to have a live feed?  If not, what is your image
rate and size?

Have you selected a camera?

What is the purpose of the USB at the PC end?  Does the modem have a USB
interface?

Cheers,

Marc Reinig
System Solutions


{Original Message removed}

2001\09\08@231228 by Ian Hynes

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Wade Carpenter wrote:
>
> Hello.
>
> In fact, I have just started to work on such a project with my classmates.
> Actually, we dreamed up apparently the exact thing you are doing, with the
> addition of a robot to run the camera around the room.  So we have the idea
> of hooking up a camera to provide some visual feedback, and then control
> through the internet.  Wireless connection to the robot with the camera.  I
> found some RF transceiver modules (~$100 USD or so) that go up to about
> 33.6kbps, and some other modules that only go 5kbps for considerably less.
> But it seems you may have that side covered.

That sounds **exactly** like the scheme I have in mind! Only minus the
robot - although with a duplex channel I guess you could incorporate
an alt/azimuth tilter for the camera.
>
> I think the suggestion about the X10 may be a good one.  Generally, 33.6kbps
> is not sufficient for transmitting the camera images.  For example, 320x240
> resolution at 8bpp = 644400 bits by 33.6*1024 = 18 seconds.  then 5kbps is
> about 120 seconds!!  This is the problem I've run into so far.

Yeah but X10 is the protocol for sending sigs down the power lines is
it not? What I'm thinking of is the cam+radio modem+pic
controller+battery+(maybe) solar charger up a hill someplace with no
power lines. My friend reckons these modems give range of quite a few
km if used with a yagi & no obstructions. I'd envsiage the Rx end as
another radio modem interfa ed to a PC/laptop and there *would* be
mains power available at that end.

I thought of normal video cams, which are freely available, but
they're not legal for km transmisions and you'd never hide it cuz of
the 5MHz BW.

Granted a robot would need close to real time tx but i could live with
a 10-20 second delay. Just want to get something protoboarded and
running at this stage. Fine tune things later.
>
> Cameras that I've considered using are generally these little CMOS or CCD
> sensor modules.  The nice ones have the optics (lenses and what not) built
> in already, and generally a simple interface.  One for example, you send one
> pulse to "open the shutter" and another to close, and that gives the charge
> time for the CCD (for example), and then it basically works like an analog
> shift register sending out the analog values at whatever clock frequency you
> supply it.

Very true - but what about the specs? The trouble is I know basically
zilch about them - anybody got specs, maybe a sample code fragment &
etc? These modems my friend has have an RS232 interface.

I'm thinking that, with the way USB is taking over, I'd maybe better
think about having that at the Rx end where the PC is gonna be. That'd
be longer term - short term, maybe let's just get cam+tx+rx working.

>
> But I think any image processing (compression even) should have to be done
> on the PC, which is not ideal for a wireless link.  It seems that there's no
> way we can have streaming video for sure (which was our original intent!!).

That'd be nice alright! Thanks for the tips - I'm just looking for
ideas, tech specs & such at this stage.
>
> Anyway, I hope some of that may help.  That embodies most of what research I
> have completed so far.

Regards - Ian
>
>

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