I was very surprised - and happy
to win the Lego
june 2000 Hall of Fame contest,
Thanks to all who voted for PanoBot
update: Markus Matern built a similar Panobot for
Coolpix 995. See his PanoBot995...
and have a look to his clever Lego Mindstorms constructions.
It suddenly happened to me that I could conciliate two of my
hobbies, Legos and panoramic photography. The result is PanoBot,
a programmable, automatic panoramic head for my Coolpix with
fisheye... Controlled by the Lego
MindStorms RCX, it shoots a photo (pressing Coolpix shutter
with a cam actionned by a motor), then rotates 1/2 or 1/3 turn
and repeat the process until the full panorama is recorded.
The RCX and the motors are placed in front to
equilibrate the weight of the Nikon Coolpix. I was not able
to make it turn around the nodal point though : PanoBot would
fall back. It is close enough to enable indoor panorama shooting
with acceptable quality (see the examples below). It is stable
enough on its base to be able to shoot a panorama simply lying
on a table. This can lead to original photographs during family
gatherings... Alternatively, the base contains a tripod mount
The Coolpix simply lays between two poles and
is maintained by the fisheye adaptor. Despite its toy heritage,
this panoramic head is quite sturdy and I entrust it with my
camera without a pinch in the heart.
The rotation angle is monitored by a MindStorms
rotation sensor, the gear ratio yields 56 steps/turn. A touch
sensor pressed by a second cam informs the RCX that the shutter
has been pressed.
See also PanoBot2,
a new version that can be built with only the Lego
Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 1.5.
- PanoBot in action : AVI film (300KB)
- Download the source
file. You can modify some parameters to fit your needs
: NumberOfPhotos is the number of shots per turn, PhotoSavingTime
controls the time needed by the camera to store an image
(it should be increased a lot if you use the Hi TIF mode)
and InitialWait is the time to wait before shooting the
first photos. You can store different setups in the 5 programs
of the RCX...
- See step-by-step instructions
3.Shutter release & top
- Download the LeoCAD design
- Samples panoramas shot with