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Mr.RC-Cam

FPV Hat

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I came across a crazy looking hat at the trade show. It creates a personal movie theater around your face. It has a pocket at the front where you slip your iPod or iTouch. A drop-down lens (under the duckbill) makes the image look larger. Honestly, everyone looking at it thought it was silly, but those that tried it loved it.

Honestly, my eyes lit up in excitement! FPV baby, FPV!

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My first thought was to just remove the lens and use the hat as a shade for Goggles. Although odd looking, it looks less weird than pulling a towel over your head to block the sun. But then I got to thinking. I could create a more customized FPV view system if I put a hi-res composite video display in its i-Pod holder.

So I purchased a sample and brought it home. Today I tried a quick test with a low-res (320 line) TFT I had on the bench. With the drop-down lens, the screen size is just perfect for me and is very comfortable. So I am now on the search for a quality made 800x600 monitor in a 3.5" form factor that is similar to the Apple iTouch. I've checked all my usual resources and have come close, but I'm still looking. Anyone know of one that is affordable (under $100)?

By the way, when used as intended with an iPod, this hat is fantastic. The lens makes the little nano sized display very easy to watch.

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It's an interesting idea, and if it works (=balances!), 3.5" screens will have a much bigger market than goggles: cheaper 800x600 for the FPV masses!

However, does this pass the 'bright sunny field' test? I refer to the effect of stray light shining in from gaps at the back, around the ears, when standing in a bright sunny field. If this area (and the area around the nose) aren't light-tight, you turn your head sometimes, and direct sunlight streams in and the screen suddenly looks dark and you subjectively lose your image. Okay, it's probably my poor eyesight... but is this thing the biz in that sunny field?

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I agree, a high-res head mounted viewing system for under $150 would be awesome. With a 3.5" 800 x 600 screen, this hat idea would have more visual resolution than any of the popular FPV goggles.

Light leakage is definitely a nuisance for FPV users. Beyond tossing a towel over your head, the things that some goggle users have done to help reduce the issue is a bit cruel. In regards to the hat, there is a black Velcro neck/shoulder cloth that can be attached to cover the backside of my head. However, the bottom of the hat is open, so I will need to cut out a piece of black felt to create a full darkroom around my face. Thankfully there is Velcro around the duckbill brim that will help attach it.

I'm still looking for the TFT/LCD/OLED screen. The small sized displays designed for automotive/security use just don't have the form factor or resolution for the task. I've reviewed a couple hundred personal media players (iTouch & Archos clones) and there are some terrific low cost models out there (China's electronic industry is big on these this year). Although some have the size and weight I need, the screen resolution is only 480 x 272 on the better models. Those with 800 x 600 are too heavy and bulky at the moment. But, I expect that cheap hi-res models will come out soon; fingers are crossed!

In the meantime, a 640 x 480 would make me happy. So far, that is a tough find too.

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hm.. since you seem to be quite capable with electronics, maybe you could build something, using a replacement screen for mobile phones or Ipods? The screen of my Xperia X1 has 800x480 px.. just bought a replacement for 27 Euros. Sry if this is nonsense, but my electronic capabilities are quite limited and seeing what you usually do i tend to think there´s nothing you guys can´t do ^^

Jens

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It would be awesome if the bare TFT/LCD screens could be used in this application. But, they are a rock-dumb electronic component that needs a complex interface circuit to make it compatible with the composite video from our video receivers.

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