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      PanoBot : a robotized panoramic head
       

    I was very surprised - and happy ! -
    to win the Lego Mindstorms
    june 2000 Hall of Fame contest, category Artbots.

    Thanks to all who voted for PanoBot !

     

    November 2001 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 screw.

    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
      1.Base
      2.Sides
      3.Shutter release & top
      4.Final assembly

    • Download the LeoCAD design file.

    • Samples panoramas shot with PanoBot :

    My bathroom, showing Panobot reflected in the mirrors (3 photos panorama)

    Heavy compression, low quality, about 140KB/file

    See the panorama with
    iMove plugin

    Get the plugin (Windows)

    Get the plugin (Macintosh)

    See the panorama with
    Java PTViewer

    Download the original images and Panorama Tools script file

    Download/see the Jpeg panorama file

    Me and myself waiting for lunch... (2 photos panorama)

    Heavy compression, low quality, about 80KB/file

    See the panorama with
    iMove plugin

    Get the plugin (Windows)

    Get the plugin (Macintosh)

    See the panorama with
    Java PTViewer

    Download the original images and Panorama Tools script file

    Download/see the Jpeg panorama file


     

    • Photo Gallery




     

LEGO® MINDSTORMS® and Technic®MINDSTORMS® EV3/NXTMINDSTORMS SensorsLEGO® technical dataLDrawMiscellaneous LEGO®LEGO® & PhotographyPanoramic PhotographyPhoto GalleryHome