February 12, 2009 - NASA was invited to have its Lunar Electric Rover participate in the parade following the swearing-in ceremonies for US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden. The rover, a concept vehicle about the size of a pickup truck that astronauts will use for future exploration of the moon, was equipped with a Ladybug3 to capture 360-degree digital video footage of the parade and Presidential Review Stand.
"We were honored when NASA approached us looking for a way to capture panoramic images of this historic event," says Vladimir Tucakov, Director of Sales and Marketing at Point Grey Research. "Working with the talented team of NASA engineers was also a privilege. They were familiar with our Ladybug3 and had some very specific requirements, such as the ability to generate panoramic video, select individual panoramic images from the video stream, and save specific still photos from each of the camera's six image sensors. They also needed to get the system up and running very quickly, so we were happy to provide them with one of our development hardware and software accessory kits."
The Ladybug3 camera was mounted at the top of a mast on the rover and connected by a 10 meter IEEE 1394b (FireWire) cable to a Dell Precision™M90 Intel®Core™2 Duo laptop, which was equipped with a FireWire ExpressCard. Using the Ladybug SDK, NASA was able to control the camera, acquire full 12 MP images (2 MP from each of the six sensors) at 15 FPS for approximately ten minutes, store the footage to a video stream file, then post-process the data into panoramic AVI's and still images.
"The goal of recording the parade with a panoramic camera mounted on the rover was to provide people with a truly unique perspective of this significant event," says Michael Gibbons, Product Manager at Point Grey. "The end result was ten minutes of panoramic footage from the parade, which NASA has made available on its YouTube channel to people all over the world."
The high resolution Ladybug3 spherical digital video camera system has six 2 MP cameras that enable the system to collect video from more than 80% of the full sphere, and an IEEE 1394b interface with locking screw connection that allows JPEG-compressed 12 MP resolution images to be streamed to disk at 15 FPS. The Ladybug3 is an ideal solution for applications that require very high resolution, a weather-resistant case, direct FireWire connection, and the ability to synchronize to external devices such as an external trigger or light source.
NASA press release: www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/jan/HQ_09-011_Inauguration_Participation.html
NASA Lunar Rover photo: www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1266.html
NASA panoramic video footage: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DgBW0nAkWE
CNN parade coverage on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c2jN0k0k68
About Point Grey Research, Inc.
Point Grey Research, Inc. is a worldwide leader in the development of advanced digital camera technology products for machine vision, industrial imaging, and computer vision applications. Based in Richmond, BC, Canada, Point Grey designs, manufactures and distributes IEEE-1394 (FireWire) and USB 2.0 cameras that are known for their excellent quality, performance, and ease of use. A broad range of hardware, software and mechanical engineering skills has allowed Point Grey to successfully bring many innovative and ground-breaking products to market. This drive for innovation has led to many industry firsts, including the first and smallest 1394b digital camera.
Since its founding in January of 1997, the company's approach to product pricing, quality control, and customer service has attracted thousands of customers worldwide, and its organic growth through product sales has enabled the company to expand significantly without any outside investment. Point Grey currently employs more than 70 people worldwide, and has a wholly-owned German subsidiary that provides sales and support services to customers in Europe, Africa and Israel. The company has also established a strong network of distributors in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, and Taiwan.
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