The Arduino Camera Controller project was my first Arduino project, one that sparked my interest in electronics. The objective of this project started by building a sensor-triggered camera controller, similar to the amazing Camera Axe. I followed that project for two years, and it is truly amazing what he/she was able to accomplish with it (as far as I can see, that project can now be considered a professional product). This was my starting inspiration; I wanted to build something that could activate my Canon Rebel XTi from a sensor, and also have the option to take a series of photos for use in a time lapse video. This writeup is how I got from zero knowledge of electronics and mechanical engineering to a (nearly) finished project.
Camera Controller Finished Box
Now that the servos are working at the touch of a mouse, all I have to do is make the gimbal, put it in a box, hook up the servos, and away I go. But mechanical engineering has never been my strong point. In fact, my first stab at it is not looking good.
The four pieces required for the Eye-To-Eye project are in place now: A laptop running Ubuntu with Opengazer fully functional, router, Arduino with Ethernet Shield and two servos (for one eye). The glue for all the pieces — especially the opengazer-to-network part — have also all been figured out. However, putting the pieces together still required some work I didn’t anticipate, and provided some interesting challenges I have yet to solve.
But the good news is, it works! Here’s the video:
This is Part 3 of my “Eye-to-Eye” adventure: figuring out how the Arduino network shield works, and how to interface with it from the OpenGazer program I discussed previously.
For Eye-To-Eye, I decided to use Opengazer on Ubuntu. I had two laptops running Ubuntu 11.04: Acer Aspire One (slightly older netbook) and Toshiba Tecra. I eventually got both of them working, although there were a lot of tweaks. These are my notes to get it working on both of these machines, YMMV.
First, download opengazer and follow instructions in the README.
You’ll notice right away you need CMake. Thankfully, Ubuntu makes this easy:
sudo apt-get install cmake
Next, download and install VXL. Unfortunately, this has to be done from source. Because VXL is made for previous versions of linux, there are some headers which are outdated. I’ve compiled
a list of problems and solutions.[see below for update]
These are all the problem areas, the rest is described well in the opengazer README.
Some people were having problems installing opengazer, and I decided to put together a more comprehensive set of instructions
Wouldn’t it be cool to use eye tracking software to control animatronic eyes?? If you answered “yes”, this post is for you – the beginning of my project, Eye-To-Eye that aims to do just that – build animatronic eyes and control them using my own eyes via eye-tracking software.