camera system guidance needed

Hey again,

I am thinking of installing a small camera on a robotics system I am developing. However, I am hoping to do some form of tracking with the video feed ( future project) however this question applies even without the tracking. Can someone help explain to me how to send the camera feed to my laptop. I thought of just using some wireless webcams but I truely can't find any of these that are affordable and small. So I am thinking of maybe just making something using a small camera and transmitting the data to my computer. This will also expand when I start some tracking algorithms as I dont think I can program a chip with enough onboard memory for the image processing (something like an ARM microcontroller). So I am thinking of something along the lines of sending data to my laptop having the processing take place on the laptop and sending a command back to the arduino on board.

I am thinking a camera like this: http://www.robotshop.com/productinfo.aspx?pc=RB-Fds-15&lang=en-US

I just dont know how or what to use to transmit the data to my laptop. Thanks for any help you guys can supply.

Figure out how many pixels that camera has, for each frame. Figure out how many bits per picture (different for color than black and white). Then, figure out how frequently the frames are generated.

Using those three numbers, you can determine how many bits per second need to be transmitted. That will give you an idea what wireless devices are suitable.

Hint: The Arduino is not fast enough to collect the data from the camera as fast as it can be generated in all but the lowest resolution at the lowest frame rate.

Thanks for the help. I know the arduino can't collect the data. Thats why I need to find something that connects to the camera directly to send the data to my laptop. I am then planning on processing the data on my laptop to then transmit a command to the arduino to take an action (i.e. move the camera XX degrees by rotating a servo in my pan/tilt system)

You don’t mention size, speed, and distance requirements. The DIY drone forums probably have a lot of cam info. You might consider an IP cam with a wireless router, or maybe a netbook with a wireless connection.

Well distance requirements are not that important mainly line of sight maybe somewhere in the 50-200 ft is fine for transmission distance. Size doesn’t matter as much as weight I am trying to go as light as possible.

mblackwolf: Well distance requirements are not that important mainly line of sight maybe somewhere in the 50-200 ft is fine for transmission distance. Size doesn't matter as much as weight I am trying to go as light as possible.

The fastest way to do what you want to do is to use an 802.11g/n IP camera - it will also be the most expensive (figure around $75-100.00 USD for the camera).

The next best way would be to use a 2.4 GHz wireless security camera, then hook the receiver to your laptop via some kind of video digitizer/input/dvr USB dongle or such; even so, you'll probably spend about the same amount of money as the first solution.

Well distance requirements are not that important mainly line of sight maybe somewhere in the 50-200 ft is fine for transmission distance. Size doesn't matter as much as weight I am trying to go as light as possible.

Distance isn't important. It has to be up to 200 feet, though. So, distance IS important.

Size doesn't matter. So, 0 by 0 would be OK?

I don't suppose speed matters, either, as long as the image is 1024 by 760 pixels, full definition color, and no flickering occurs.

I was saying size doesn’t matter as much as weight. As long as it is light it can be large if need be. The pixels arn’t of too much concern. I just need to be able to make out the image of what the robot is seeing at the time so that I can perform tracking algorithms. So maybe enough to be able to make out a 3" x 3"red square from approx. 5’ away. I claim pixels dont matter as I am only planning on line of sight control therefore the robot will not need to be piloted through the camera so it will only be used for tracking pruposed. As for speed I turely dont know what is needed I would assume the tracking algorithm could keep it semi-accurate as long as i was getting a couple frames per second of the video.

I am more concerned now with figuring out how exactly to transmit the data from a camera to my laptop as this is where I am having trouble. I am concerned with using the IP cameras as they are heavy which can be helped by removing the outer casing etc… But Since the system is mobile I am hoping to make it battery powered which some IP cameras can handle. The problem is most of them need direct ethernet connection and I am trying to find a wireless solution. I have seen RC planes with on board cameras where they are transmitting the video back to a ground station. I was hoping someone could point me towards something similar as I know with aircraft weight is a large concern as well.