Camera Upgrade Options


#1

Camera Upgrade Options

After the discussion of bandwidth limitations in the 2/14 development call[1], I went looking for other camera options.

(for reference, it looks like OpenROV is currently using[2] the Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000[3])

I found the HackHD camera[4] which seemed nice but not right because it only has composite video-out (HD is recorded).

In the comments, I found another product called Hackacam[5] that came from a recently completed Kickstarter[6]. It has a bunch of advantages:
- h264 video encoding for lower bandwidth
- interchangeable lenses
- onboard ARM chip
- programmable DSP chip and SDK
- 1080p streaming
Downsides, it's not available yet (expected to ship late march), and it's more expensive (~$150, not sure what final sale price will be).

I emailed the creator of the project and he said OpenROV sounded interesting and he'd talk with the project devs about how Hackacam could work with OpenROV.

If someone who knows about the video electronics, physical constraints, power, software, etc (Eric? someone else?) and can join me for a call, I'll schedule it.

Anyone with input or questions to ask, please respond here or email me (peter@pchristensen.com) and I'll try to get an answer.

I'll bring it up in the next dev call too.

[1] http://wiki.openrov.com/index.php/2013-02-14_Development_Call
[2] http://kitbom.com/3d-bots/openrov-23
[3] http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-LifeCam-HD-5000-720p-Webcam/dp/B002XN7C6W
[4] https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11418
[5] http://www.hackacam.com/
[6] http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/761738591/hackacam-hackable-camera-platform


#2

As good as this looks, I'm not sure how much we need the extra capability. We can get 1080p streaming (even larger stills if we can work out the programming) from much cheaper cameras, and bandwidth may not be as much of a problem with the newer tether relays based on the HomePlug adapters. I think we should be looking more at what kind of wide-angle options are available - otherwise it seems like a lot of money for limited increase in usefulness.

On the other hand, encoding options are something that hasn't really been discussed recently to my knowledge. I believe the current software already has some options, but how could we take advantage of mjpg-streamer to allow further customization?