EyePod, Universal Camera Mounting System: With VIDEO! - RC Groups
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Nov 04, 2010, 12:52 PM
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jarel design's Avatar
New Product

EyePod, Universal Camera Mounting System: With VIDEO!

1/24/2011 update: Just discovered I can get insurance on first class shipping and I don't have to use priority mail, so the shipping (insured) is now reduced to $5! anywhere in the continental USA.

For the longest time I've been watching fliers mount cameras onto all sorts of planes and helicopters using all forms of attachment… Tape, Glue, Rubber Bands, Velcro… Some mounts have been cleverly designed and wonderfully executed but unavailable to most of us looking for an inexpensive, "plug-and-play" solution. For the "improvised" solutions, it’s not been uncommon to hear of cameras falling off in mid-flight! The other problem I’ve seen is the inability to fine tune and adjust where the camera is pointed once the camera has been attached to the plane.

The videos that have been posted here on RCG have been great to watch, with some of them being fantastic and the idea of being able to see what our planes "sees" could not be more addictive! I discovered this thrill during the development of my first UAV for a client years ago! What a Blast! So after learning about the popular 808 key chain camera, I bought one and flew it…. Then I bought two more! I LOVE them!

Having worked with cameras/video/film and optics for almost 20 years on projects ranging from military UAV’s to toy cameras, wireless texting devices, to deep-sea diving camera housings as well as creating motion picture special effects, I’ve had my share of experience working with cameras of all sizes and the challenges of mounting them. Mounting a camera onto a plane that wasn’t designed to be an AP platform can be even more challenging! Learning what these little cameras were capable of, I began wanting more variety in my camera angles… I also realized others might want the same.

Coming from a history of producing RC aircraft kits since the early 90’s and as long a history prototyping all sorts of products, I decided it was time to design and build a “better mousetrap” that could be produced in quantity, easy to use and inexpensive! I wanted a camera mount I could place anywhere on my plane, boats and helicopters, poles, helmets, people, pets (you get the idea). It would need to be mounted and removed as easily as a rubber band mounted wing and I didn’t want it falling off during flight! Once mounted, I wanted it to provide as many shooting angles as possible: (at least 360 degree panorama and 180 degree tilt). I also wanted the camera to be able to move through these angles smoothly, (without incremental steps) and as easily as pointing the camera and releasing it. I also wanted it to be LIGHT (…under one ounce!) …I also wanted it to cost under $10!

What I came up with is a device I call “EyePod”.

OV-10 Bronco In-flight video created using EyePod Camera Mounting System (1 min 32 sec)

EyePod is a universal camera mount that is as easily attached as it is removed to just about any surface, yet is secure. (Shortly after creating the OV-10 Video, I crashed hard (Pilot error), the twin booms broke and one of the motor mounts and cowl were ripped off the plane… Not only did the cameras remain in their EyePod mounts, but the mounts themselves remained fixed where I placed them!

The camera fits firmly secured into a friction fit slot yet is easily removed from the camera ball turret. The camera ball turret is then free to rotate (Pan) 360 degrees and tilt over 180 degrees. This provides an almost endless variety of camera positions ranging from videotaping the plane it’s mounted on from a wing tip towards the cockpit, cowl or tail, to pointing downward surveying the ground it’s flying over.

So far, there is a “Standard” (rectangular shape) and an "Aerodynamic" version, each weighing in at 15 grams! Other EyePods are slated to go into production soon including a helicopter mount and one specifically designed for sailplanes. Additional sizes to accommodate larger cameras are being developed with the largest EyePod (designed for much larger cameras and aircraft), incorporating a foam injected two piece camera ball that also provides protection for the larger more expensive cameras.) Remotely controlled Pan and Tilt adaptations are being developed and will be shared here once perfected.

After 8 months (testing, modifying, patent searches, patent filing, photo shooting the build and test flying the final EyePod), tooling to produce the EyePod is now nearing completion with shipping of the first run of 50 units expected to begin before the end of the month. The building threads have been photographed to completion and are in the process of being written and edited. Building the EyePod kit is pretty straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. I should have most of the build posted (here), before the end of the month.

The EyePod comes complete with everything you need to build it.

Kit contents:
Molded turret ball (Two halves)
Molded top shell
Molded base shell
Depron foam (Internal supports)
Bamboo rods (Rubber band mounts)
Elastic Cord (Turret tension)
Plastic Tube (Elastic positioning locks)
Foam Rubber (Vibration and friction dampening)

Weight: 15 grams
Length: 5 3/4”
Width: 2 1/2”
Ball Diameter: 2 1/16”

Price for either the aerodynamic or rectangular EyePod is $9.95 (Plus $8 S&H Insured Priority Mail) If you are interested in getting on the list for the first run of 50, please email me at: www.jarelaircraftdesign.com and let m know which version (Standard or Aerodynamic), you’d like… When the kits are ready to ship, I will notify you by email regarding payment and shipping logistics.

I’m attaching some photos of both EyePods with some ideas as to how they can be mounted along with some photos of my previous work with cameras (you might be familiar with some) and the first of several videos created using the EyePod… This one was created on a 48” span Park Flyer foam and vacuum formed plastic scale OV-10 Bronco war bird. Additional videos were shot on even smaller planes including the E-Flight Fokker Slow Flyer ARF and are currently being edited. I’ll be posting soon!

Thanks for visiting!

Last edited by jarel design; Jan 24, 2011 at 05:36 PM. Reason: shipping cost reduction update.
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Nov 04, 2010, 01:02 PM
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jarel design's Avatar

How it Works: Video

Here's a short Video showing how a camera is installed into the EyePod and then adjusted to a wide range of pan/tilt angles:

Standard EyePod (0 min 52 sec)
Nov 04, 2010, 01:55 PM
R.I.P, Aardvark.
F-111 John's Avatar
Fantastic idea, but a few questions:

1) what holds the camera in?

2) how does it deal with the inevitible aircraft vibrations?
Nov 04, 2010, 02:19 PM
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quailbird's Avatar
You've done a wonderful job on your eyepod! It looks great and it looks very professional. I'll be watching!
Nov 04, 2010, 02:28 PM
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jarel design's Avatar
Thanks guys!

The camera is held in place by the edges of the camera ball turret grabbing the top and bottom, then as you push the camera inside, there is an internal plate set at an angle that wedges the camera in place... (Trust me! After crashing the OV-10 and demolishing the booms, motor mount and cowl, I was SHOCKED to see the cameras still in place besides the EyePod mounts still rubber banded on the wing tips! I was not expecting that at all! I was going into a spiraling dive trying to get as many revolutions before pulling out (Always love close-to-the-ground flying and it makes for some great video!), well, I never pulled up! (embarrassing but true)... I was hoping for one more revolution as well as the plane to pull out and away from me... by the time I pulled back on the stick, I was barely 45 degrees away from straight down.

Dampening is "helped" (certainly not eliminated), by and internal foam cradle and a foam rubber backing plate where the elastic pull cord mounts... (Hopefully, this will make more sense as I begin the build thread here...) If additional dampening is wanted, it would be so easy to glue on foam rubber pads onto the base and have this provide additional dampening...)

Hope this helps? for now?

Back to work here... pouring molds at the moment and editing the build threads (They've been photo-documented, but I still have a lot of writing and photo-editing to do... If you're familiar with my build threads, I don't leave much to the imagination with enough photographs to almost make a "flip-book" movie! lol!)

Thanks for visiting and posting!
I'll be back soon...
Nov 04, 2010, 02:29 PM
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quailbird's Avatar
I looked at your web site and you have some really great items. Way to go! You know, it wouldn't hurt to put some moon gel down under the eypod and this would probably eliminate any extra vibs. Just a thought!
Nov 04, 2010, 02:39 PM
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jarel design's Avatar
Always one for learning...

Please share: What is "Moon gell?"


Nov 04, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Highfly!'s Avatar
I am in!

Just placed my order...
Nov 04, 2010, 03:07 PM
define("BEASTMODE", "1");
Bonafidepirate's Avatar
Not bad at all! I've been thinking about getting a couple of these little cameras just to get some extra angles in the air, these pods would be a nice way to put them to use...

Will be watching!
Nov 04, 2010, 03:55 PM
Gwelan's Avatar
Great designs !
(Thread subscribed)
Nov 04, 2010, 04:47 PM
No thrust...It'll bust...
troynh's Avatar
Originally Posted by jarel design
Always one for learning...

Please share: What is "Moon gell?"


Nov 04, 2010, 05:01 PM
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jarel design's Avatar
Thank you Tim!!!!!

WOW! What a difference! (Not sure if it will be that noticeable with these small cameras (definition etc), but because these cameras are so small, I can imagine that Moongel Would make a MAJOR difference! In special effects work, to steady the camera, we add weights... keeps it rock steady... with a small camera like the 808, the idea is to keep things light and these Moongel pads sure won't add much! I'm imagining that the stickiness of the pads will help keep the EyePod in place and as long as the rubber bands aren't too tight, the lack of pressure will help let the gel do it's work absorbing morot/prop vibrations...

Thank you so much for the link! and GREAT video comparison by the way... sold me!

(I'll have to go to the local music/instrument shop and pick some up and do my own comparisons... looking forward to it.
Thanks again!

Nov 04, 2010, 07:05 PM
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rchawks's Avatar
Hello Richard, We are very lucky to see your talents showcased here. I've been a fan of yours for 20 yrs. Awesome!
Nov 04, 2010, 07:13 PM
Mini-Me is watching you...
thenodemaster's Avatar


Very interesting. I am curious as to what you are going to come up with for a helicopter mount for larger cameras. And that moongel...Holy Cow! I may end up putting some of that between my heli and the landing skid legs where my mount currently sits on my Lama 3!
Nov 04, 2010, 07:47 PM
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jarel design's Avatar

A "fan" for 20 years?!?!?!?! By any chance did you fly the slopes at Hughes Hill in Los Angeles way back then, or just find me in one of the magazines back then? Either way, that was a Loooong Time ago! lol! Thanks!

And thanks for the kind words!

As for helicopters... There's a specific EyePod (this size for the 808 key chain camera) just for the Lama series and CX2 series Coaxials... I need to get this build thread going first... hopefully, I will be able to get some photos of it mounted in the next few weeks...

I had a few people email me asking about the EyePod and just regular air to ground "Aerial Photography"... YES! Absolutely YES!... That was kind of the whole motivation until I also began thinking of photographing the plane itself like in the OV-10 Video... Taking that question a step further...I came up with what I think will be a great idea (as If I need another plane to design! lol!)

I just sketched up a small (under 30" wingspan) twin boom aerial photography plane designed to carry the standard EyePod camera mount, rubber banded on to the fusealge at an angle... totally removable yet totally integrated into being a part of the fusealge... small 9grm servos, ar500 rx, small "blue Wonder" sized brushless and 10amp ESC turning a 7 x 6 GWS prop... Should be fun... super easy to build and cheap using blue Fan Fold or Depron foam... Planing to keep it as cheap as possible letting others do the high performance mods as they seem fit... The idea is to design and build the prototype around the (Eyepod standard version) and publish the plans here for free... That will give anyone who wants to, the opportunity to build a small aerial photography dedicated AP plane... Twin boom, pusher with the camera in front capable of side to side positioning to straight ahead to even looking rearwards... The drawings will make more sense than my words... lol!

Planning on beginning the control drawings tonight. Maybe have a presentable sketch/rendering for you by tomorrow...

Thanks for the visits and kind words!


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