The Freefall Camera (FFC) is a robot that can be tossed out of a plane to autonomously track and capture video of skydivers doing tricks. At a predetermined altitude, the robot pops its steerable parachute and lands near specified GPS coordinates. The University of Nottingham researchers who developed the Freefall Camera presented their work at last week's International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. From IEEE Spectrum:
Building a robot that can successfully control its position and terminal velocity relative to another falling object is not something that’s been done before. There are freefall cameras designed to work in microgravity, but that’s a much different challenge: this camera has to be able to maneuver in a 120 mph (190 km/h) stream of air, which is all about passive aerodynamics. To steer itself, the FFC uses four vertical ailerons to control yaw (and eventually horizontal position), along with a pair of retractable flaps that increase or decrease the robot’s drag to slow it down or speed it up. A GoPro does the recording while a CMUcam5 vision sensor tracks colored blobs to stay locked onto its subject...
The tests showed that the FCC could generally track a human within 0.25 meters vertically, and 12 degrees of the center of the camera’s field of view. Occasionally, the camera would get confused by backgrounds or bright lights, so the next incarnation of the system will use an infrared beacon for tracking instead.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were people who sifted through the mud on the banks of the River Thames to find things of value. Ted Sandling keeps the dream alive. He compiled his curious collection in a book, London in Fragments: A Mudlark’s Treasures, and you can also follow his finds on Instagram. […]
On this day in 1966, Buzz Aldrin took the first selfie in space while standing on his seat and hanging out of an open hatch as part of the Gemini XII mission. From NASA: This “stand up” EVA (the first of three during the mission) was conducted with the hatch off while Aldrin stood on […]
NASA’s Juno spacecraft took this glamour shot of Jupiter on October 29, 2018, from about 4,400 miles (7,000) kilometers above the planet’s clouds. From NASA: A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter’s dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image… Appearing in the scene are several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as […]
Ever wondered what it takes to make the transition from amateur photography to a full career? If you answered “a better camera,” you’re half right. Before you get the equipment, get the know-how to use it with the Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course & Certification. Taught by experienced pros, this course is geared towards shutterbugs […]
Anyone can learn piano, but don’t tell that to the bored kids who had to endure hours of “Chopsticks” and similar drills in their music lessons. Today, there’s a better way. Pianoforall lets you jump right in to discover what makes music fun, leaving you eager to learn more. In a simple but innovative approach, […]
There are two times you never want to just “eyeball” it: Conducting brain surgery and matching shades of paint for your walls. Whether you’re painting or repainting, make sure you’re never just “close enough” to the color you want. Not when the Nix Mini Color Sensor can scan and match any color perfectly. Small enough […]