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.
Yesterday, I posted Sam Rowley’s fantastic photo of two brawling mice on a subway platform that won the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People’s Choice award. Also in the animals-that-fight vein is Aaron Gekoski’s photo of a pugilist orangutan, a beautiful and ultimately tragic image that earned Gekoski a Highly […]
Sam Rowley’s fantastic image of mice brawling over crumbs on a London Underground platform won the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People’s Choice award. “With the majority of the world living in urban areas and cities now, you have to tell the story about how people relate to wildlife,” Rowley […]
My guest this week on the Cool Tools Podcast is Meeno Peluce. Meeno grew up as a successful child actor in Hollywood, and his kid sister is Soleil Moon Frye of Punky Brewster fame. He then moved behind the camera and has spent his life photographing and filming the world around him, from the burning […]
If you remember your Norse mythology (or just watched Marvel’s Thor movies), you’re probably familiar with Heimdal, the god whose ever-watchful eye was entrusted with protecting the home of the gods in Asgard. Back on Earth, Heimdal Thor is also the name of a security package from Heimdal Security, that’s actually dedicated to much the […]
Everyone’s got their nose in a phone these days, and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change anytime soon. With the increase in mobile device and e-commerce reliance comes increased need for developers who can build the apps we’re all so glued to. In fact, employment of devs is expected to grow up to […]
Whether you love cooking at home or you swore this was going to be the year you curbed your DoorDash addiction, you know you can’t get the job done well without the proper tools on hand. For all your recipe and meal prep needs, this 3-piece Sukasu Osami Chef’s Knife set will do you right […]