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KMac

Budget wireless HD video

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Hello all,

You seem to have a good community here, this is my first post, but I'm sure I'll be more involved due to the project I'm working on. I'm a university student studying mechatronics engineering, and we've been tasked with designing an autonomous indoor UAV with wireless video for <$1000.

The budget and several requirements are non-negotiable. The video stream we have to supply must be at least 1280x768 @ 10 fps. This is going to be fed into a ground unit computer for image recognition on each frame. Now I've looked for hours upon hours at the various video options, focusing on robotics, DIY projects and RC projects. I've found numerous options in the VGA range, but nothing at the resolution we require.

Here are my ideas so far, I'm basically looking for input/insight into what might be most likely to work, possible resources I've missed, and common products, interfaces, etc that I should be focusing on.

So far I think I need a camera; possibly a video processing module or something to down sample the video to 10 fps, since it will probably be 30 fps from the camera; a transmitter; and a receiver. These may or may not be integrated when purchased.

My issue is: What format should the video be in each stage of the journey, and what interfaces should be used between the electronic components (UART bus???).

Camera #1: (I haven't found one yet, but) A video camera module (no housing, just lens holder & PCB).

Camera #2: Cheap light camcorder like the "Aiptek A-HD 720P 8MP CMOS High Definition Camcorder" and use the HDTV component output. This will probably end up being the most viable option (due to limited budget). Obviously weight is very important, so it's not nice having to use a camera with a housing when the housing isn't required, but what are you going to do...

Down Sampling: Haven't really looked into these options yet. Advice would be helpful.

Wireless Transmission: Bluetooth? WIFI? Proprietary? What interface between the transmitter and the camera? Not sure here, input would be useful.

So since there is so much out there, I'm deferring to your experience. Am I onto something with using a light cheap camcorder, what is the best way to stream that video wirelessly?

I appreciate any feedback!

Cheers,

Kirk

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I don't know what resources you have in terms of time, but knowing from the typical student projects I've done this requirement seems simply exaggerated.

You didn't say what kind of aircraft it is, and what kind of weight can be allotted to the video system.

Maybe have a look at this, this is probably the closest you could get with commercial equipment, however I think it already exceeds your total budget on its own, and we don't have any info about image transmission delays which are typical from digital HD transmission systems and wouldn't play nice at all with image recognition...

Other than this, you'd need an embedded computer onboard (such as the Gumstix Overo modules, one with DSP for encoding), a camera that could indeed be an Aiptek cam or equivalent that can be taken off the case for a final weight of < 30gr, with HDMI out, or some Firewire-based industrial/robotics cam, or even access an image sensor directly if you can acquire one, you'd have to make an interface board with the required chips to connect those to your embedded computer, and could then process/compress the images and send them for example via wifi using a 802.11n adapter if the distances you need to work in are short.

But that would be the kind of job that's counted in many months of man-time, not the usual university project.

Edited by Kilrah

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