Thread Tools
Sep 30, 2018, 08:44 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
Here's an idea for a simple training system using two piCAMTracker units with a central control unit.

First some requirements that I'd like to meet:
- Low cost. Should be a low cost on top of the two piCAMTracker units
- Portable. Must be small and light enough to fit in a pocket or clip to a transmitter
- No wires. Must be completely wireless without range issues.
- Can run a full flight or just call lap times. Should be able to provide launch countdown, turn signals, lap counts and flight time

I've prototyped a unit that I think will meet these requirements. It's based on a low cost Arduino processor with built in OLED display ($11), connected to an xbee radio module ($19) and a small mp3 player module ($3). Add a few support parts - battery holder, piezo buzzer two switches, regulator and a speaker. So maybe a total of about $50 in parts.

The central unit will accept turn signals from the piCAMTracker units. The mp3 player provides the voice for countdowns, lap counts and the flight time. The piezo buzzer is for the turn signal because mp3 has too much lag before it plays. A simple menu system will be shown on the display and controlled by the two switches. The unit will run off a single 18650 battery.

An added bonus of using this particular Arduino processor, is that it supports wifi and can act as a web server. So in theory, times could be made available for viewing on a phone or tablet.

So far my prototype is pretty crude, but the keys parts are working together. Next step is to add a bit more code to have it talking to piCAMTracker and move it off the prototyping board.

Simon
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Oct 01, 2018, 12:38 AM
Registered User
Wow. Simon, this looks great. Cant wait you get the system out of prototype phase. If you need any CAD modeling done for the case I am willing to help.
Oct 17, 2018, 04:51 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
I took a piCAMTracker unit to the F3F World Championships in Rugen to show a few people. I managed to test it out during and after the event.

On one day I placed the unit at Base B. My setup was far from ideal as I only had a very small tripod and I had to set it up well behind the base sighting device so as to not interfere with the event. The sun was almost straight on and there was grass in the way. But results were really good. It detected almost every base crossing, only missing out on those that were out of the camera's field of view.

After the contest I setup piCAMTracker connected to my timing system and we ran a number of people through some fully timed flights. Once again the results were really good with almost 100% correct detection.

All tests were done with the default configuration settings. I just set it down on the ground, pointed in the right direction and turned it on,

Below are two sets of photos. One set is of screen shots captured on my phone from the piCAMTracker web page. The other set are from piCAMTracker captured images. I've deliberately picked some where the plane crossed the line right next to the sun. You might need to look carefully but the plane is there. Also some mixed in with grass and the sighting tripod. The detection is shown by a green rectangle and an arrow showing direction.

So I'm very impressed with what Barney has achieved. There was a lot of interest in piCAMTracker at Rugen, particularly for use as an F3F training tool.

Simon
Oct 18, 2018, 03:53 PM
Team USA F3F Member
ttraver's Avatar
Hey Simon,

How come all of the images are inverted? is that the direction the picam was installed?

I'll be printing my boxes out soon and assembling...

t
Oct 18, 2018, 04:48 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttraver
Hey Simon,

How come all of the images are inverted? is that the direction the picam was installed?

I'll be printing my boxes out soon and assembling...

t
There are some parameters in one of the files that let you rotate it.
Oct 19, 2018, 04:30 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
There are two mounts for the camera - which set it at 270 or 180 deg rotation. Then in the config.json file you need the set somes value depending on how you have mounted the camera:

Camera at 270 deg:
“viewAngle": 270,
“xCross”: -1,
“yCross”: 30

Camera at 180 deg:
“viewAngle": 180,
“xCross”: 40,
“yCross”: -1

I think that the mounting is limited by the cable exit point, so a 0 deg setup won't work mechanically. But maybe Olav can figure out a way.

The only downside with the current arrangement is that the time stamp is inverted on the screen capture. Which is really not an issue as you won't normally be looking at the capture images except in setup and testing.

Barney is recommending the 0 or 180 deg setup for F3F with the fisheye lens.

Simon
Oct 19, 2018, 11:55 PM
MCS / NCSS / SVSS / LSC / SAM
David Olson's Avatar
I was very impressed with the success Simon had before the WC in Rügen. The cameras are smaller in real life than I expected.

Barney told me he has been working on this for 10 years. It is very exciting and encouraging to see.
Oct 20, 2018, 06:51 AM
Registered User
barney-NG's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Olson
Barney told me he has been working on this for 10 years.
Thank you David -- I didn't work continuously on that topic. It took a lot of long breaks and restarts to come to this stage.
And I am really glad to have such amazing good co-workers like Simon and Olav.

Cheers

Barney
Oct 20, 2018, 09:02 AM
MCS / NCSS / SVSS / LSC / SAM
David Olson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by barney-NG
Thank you David -- I didn't work continuously on that topic. It took a lot of long breaks and restarts to come to this stage.
And I am really glad to have such amazing good co-workers like Simon and Olav.

Cheers

Barney
Hi Barney,

I meant to say "on and off" for 10 years:-) It must be rewarding to see all this progress.

Dave
Oct 26, 2018, 08:38 AM
Registered User
Brett82's Avatar
Amazing to see some of those screenshots where the detection was made with the model being in amongst the grass.
Well done to all that are involved in this, Its a really amazing job you guys are doing.
Oct 28, 2018, 06:16 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar

Fly Vs plane


Captured on piCAMTracker under test on an F3B day. Giant fly facing off a plane in the speed task

We had a local F3B contest and although I only had a camera with the fisheye lens, I thought that I'd test piCAMTracker to see what it could pick up. I had the camera sitting at Base A, not connected to anything - just sat it there and did not really check to see what it detected until I got home.

Turned out it did pretty well for the turns, but missed the entry (as expected with the fisheye lens).

But what it also captured was flies - lots of them. Just a typical sunny day in Oz with millions of flies. Not much you can do to stop them flying around

Based on the little testing I did today, I'm encouraged to setup piCAMTracker for F3B Base B duty for speed training.

Simon
Oct 28, 2018, 07:53 AM
On a small rock in a big pond
Yikes! Remind me to stock up on fly swatt... I mean cricket bats before visiting!
Oct 28, 2018, 05:14 PM
Registered User
barney-NG's Avatar
Thread OP

Development continues


Hah -- have you seen how sharp the flies are captured!
We shall sell the camera for biological investigations
Thank you Simon for sharing your experiences!
... the flies should be faster than the planes. reducing vMax may improve...

I started to continue development today.
(added a description for the config.json file in the wiki section)

Target for v0.5
Prio 1:
  • Improve detection of straight fly ins and outs. (Need at least one debugging session with a missed fly in or fly out)
  • Add ability to start debugging by external push button. (Done -> pull down GPIO2 and debugging is activated for 10 seconds)
Prio 2:
  • Use GPIO layout suitable for Simons PCB hat. (done)
Prio 3:
  • Improve the snapshot quality. (currently the snapshot is at least 60ms behind the turn signal)

The configuration file should hold all parameters which may be configured in the software. Some can be changed via the web interface and others are just there because they may be changed in future.

Cheers

Barney
Oct 31, 2018, 07:02 PM
Team USA F3F Member
ttraver's Avatar
Barney,

Can you tell me what config parameters I should have if I want to use it for F3B on the B base for some practice???

t
Nov 01, 2018, 07:03 AM
Registered User
barney-NG's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttraver
Barney,

Can you tell me what config parameters I should have if I want to use it for F3B on the B base for some practice???

t
Hi Tim,

it's more a hardware question. In F3B the planes are much more far away than in F3F.
  • You need a camera with a lot of resolution and a good lens
  • Unfortunately this type of camera has a small FOV
  • To see high flying planes you have to push back the camera a lot which increases the distance to the plane even more.
...These are the restrictions for F3B...

Let us come to the parameters:
  • You can use the standard parameter set.
  • If you use the V2 camera (Until now I recommend the V2 without fisheye for F3B because it can detect smaller objects)
  • For the V2 camera you need to adapt 2 parameters in the config.json file (yCross: 28 and viewAngle: 90)
    (cd piCAMTracker; pico config.json)

That is more or less all from software side you can do.

Cheers

Barney

PS: To be able to see planes from ground to sky Jeroen is using 2 cameras now for F3B detection.


Quick Reply
Message:

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Product Valenta Model Mini Twister 3m F3F/B Plane concreteman Slope 3 Jan 16, 2019 12:04 PM
Discussion iMax B6AC detecting 2 cells of 3. Buzzer detects all 3. FromHell Batteries and Chargers 21 Jul 04, 2017 07:56 AM
Discussion F3B/F3F planes timmig Multi Task F3X 0 Jul 07, 2016 10:35 PM
Alert Great Planes Triton Charger does not detect battery! guapoman2000 Batteries and Chargers 38 Feb 07, 2008 09:01 PM
Berg 5 DSP auto detect not detecting rickyblaze Radios 2 Oct 29, 2004 04:29 PM