A member of this group has taken me up on helping her with a project. It has
to do with putting a digicam on a gimbal and controlling it through a
laptop. I've done a bit of Google and eBay searches but have not found
anything affordable and available as of yet. So... does anybody have one
laying around your development lab that you don't need any more? Or... know
of a supplier with tons in stock and willing to sell at hobby prices? Needs
to be two axes only... I will be making the third axis.
Aw shucks Tim! Now you've taken all the fun out of it!
But on a more serious note. Thank you! It appears to be a perfect solution
for the first part of the project. She'll have to tap into the motion
sensors to control the movement from her laptop but that should not be a
problem. If the project ever develops into a marketable item she can go
directly to the gimbal maker and negotiate OEM pricing and delivery.
It senses motion using image processing, the gimbal is commanded
directly from the computer so it ought to be easy enough to control
directly. It's supported by the Linux PWC (Philips WebCam) driver and
the setpwc utility that comes with it can control the pan/tilt. It
uses a Philips chipset, hence the confusing driver name. Not sure what
support on other OSes is like, but I expect there is a documented API
I'm pretty sure it uses the same sensor and chipset as the Quickcam
4000 Pro, Philips ToUCam Pro and a few others. This may be of interest
as these cameras have been heavily hacked by the amateur astronomy
community, so the info is out there if you feel the need to push the
I'll employ pan/tilt cameras on my robot as well. When I was selecting which
camera I'd use, I went to fry's and bought one of each model, including the
quickcam. I've discarded using its pan/tilt mechanism and chose to do my own
using standard R/C servos, here's why:
-Logitech used to offer an API for controlling the pan/tilt, they don't
anymore and I couldn't find anyone willing to share one with me... I'd have
to hack the electronics and drivers in order to find out how to interface
with it by my own... no time to do that.
-I need something robust, and the pan/tilt on this camera is not. If you
shake the camera, even if it is turned on, the motor won't hold it in place,
it will shake a lot. For mobile platforms a big no no.
-At least using their own control software, the pan and tilt movements are
not smooth, instead they are in steps, as if it was being controlled using a
stepper motor. I need something that if not completely smooth, at least with
very small steps.
I liked the image quality and how it adapts between light and dark
environments very fast. But then a a regular quickcam 4000 has the same
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