October 2, 2016

Elphel presenting at ORCONF 2016, An open source digital design conference

by Olga Filippova

On October 8th, 2016 Andrey will be presenting his work on VDT – Free Software Environment for FPGA Development at an open source digital design conference, ORCONF 2016. ORCONF 2016

The conference will take place in Bologna, Italy, and we are glad for the possibility to meet some of European users of Elphel cameras, and to connect with the community of developers excited about open source design, free software and open hardware.

Elphel will be present at the conference by Andrey Filippov from USA headquarters and Alexadre Poltorak, founder of Swiss 3D4Pi mobile mapping company, working closely with Elphel to integrate Eyesis4Pi, stereophotogrammetric camera, for the purpose of image based 3D reconstruction applications. Andrey will bring and demonstrate the new multisensor NC393 H-camera and Alexandre plans to take some panoramic footage with Eyesis4Pi camera, while in Bologna.


April 21, 2016

Tutorial 01: Access to Elphel camera documentation from 3D model

by Olga Filippova

We have created a short video tutorial to help our users navigate through 3D models of Elphel cameras. Cameras can be virtually taken apart and put back together which helps to understand the camera configuration and access information about every camera component. Please feel free to comment on the video quality and usefulness, as we are launching a series of tutorials about cameras, software modifications, FPGA development on 10393 camera board, etc. and we would like to receive feedback on them.



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February 11, 2016

NC393 camera is fit for flight

by Olga Filippova

The components for 10393 and other related circuit boards for the new NC393 camera series have been ordered and contract manufacturing (CM) is ready to assemble the first batch of camera boards.

In the meantime, the extruded parts that will be made into NC393 camera body have been received at Elphel. The extrusion looks very slick with thin, 1mm walls made out of strong 6061-T6 aluminium, and weighs only 55g. The camera’s new lightweight design is suitable for use on a small aircraft. The heat frame responsible for cooling the powerful processor has also been extruded.

We are very pleased with the performance of Profile Precision Extrusions located in Phoenix, Arizona, which have delivered a very accurate product ahead of the proposed schedule. Now we can proudly engrave “Made in USA” on the camera, as now even the camera body parts are made in the United States.

Of course, we have tried to order the extrusion in China, but the intricately detailed profile is difficult to extrude and tolerances were hard to match, so when Profile Precision was recommended to us by local extrusion facilities we were happy to discover the outstanding quality this company offers.

 

extrusion_393 extrusion_393_heatFrame 4extrusions_393

 

While waiting for the extruded parts we have been playing with another new toy: the 3D printer. We have been creating prototypes of various camera models of the NC393 series. The cameras are designed and modelled in a 3D virtual environment, and can viewed and even taken apart by mouse click thanks to X3dom technology. The next step is to build actual parts on the 3D printer and physically assemble the camera prototypes, which will allow us to start using the prototypes in the physical world: finding what features are missing, and correcting and finalizing the design. For example, when the mini-panoramic NC393-4PI4 camera prototype was assembled it was clear that it needs the 4 fins (now seen on the final model) to protect the lenses from touching the surfaces as well as to provide shade from the sun. NC393-4PI4 and NC393-4PI4-IMU-GPS are small 360 degree panoramic cameras assembled with 4 fish-eye lenses especially suitable for interior panoramic applications.

The prototypes are not as slick as the actual aluminium bodies, but they give a very good example of what the actual cameras will look like.

 

NC393_parts_prototype NC393-M2242-CS_prototype1 NC393-4PI4-IMU-GPS_prototype2

 

As of today, the 10393 and other boards are in production, the prototypes are being built and tested for design functionality, and the aluminium extrusions have been received. With all this taken care of, we are now less than one month away from the NC393 being offered for sale; the first cameras will be distributed to the loyal Elphel customers who have placed and pre-paid orders several weeks ago.


July 19, 2012

Elphel at SIGGRAPH 2012

by Olga Filippova

We are glad to meet you at SIGGRAPH 2012, Booth 1058

Tuesday August 7th – Thursday August 9th

Los Angeles Convention Center, Main Hall , Booth 1058

Elphel will present Eyesis4Pi – high resolution full sphere stereophotogrammetric camera at SIGGRAPH 2012, together with it’s calibration machine. We will demonstrate full calibration process to compensate for optical aberrations, allowing to preserve full sensor resolution over the camera FOV, and distortions – for precise pixel-mapping for photogrammetry and 3D reconstruction.

All Elphel camera users are welcome, current and prospective, as well as parties interested in Eyesis4Pi. Here (booth 1058 – see plan) you can talk to the camera developers, see the calibration process and touch the actual working hardware. There is a number of passes available for exhibition only. Please contact Olga Filippova if you would like to receive one.


April 26, 2011

Panoramas From the Backpack

by Olga Filippova

Eyesis Backpack

Eyesis Backpack with Netbook for initial set-up

Tacking high-resolution panoramic images in the remote places, that can only be accessed by feet is an option now available with the Elphel-Eyesis 360 degree panorama camera. The camera’s size (1.3 x 0.3 meters) and relatively light weight (10kgs) allow to mount it on a backpack frame and carry by a person.

There were multiple requests for the backpack option by our customers since the development of Elphel-Eyesis camera, but other projects were of higher priority, until this spring, when we finally decided it was time to take Eyesis hiking.  After all, we have worked hard on this project for many months, so we ought to have some fun with it too, and take panorama images of the places we knew and enjoyed for it’s scenery.

On April 19th, 2011, we took the Elphel mobile office to camp for 5 days in Southern Utah near the Goblin Valley State Park to try out Eyesis in beautiful places not yet available in continuous panoramic imagery, mainly because of their inaccessibility for car, ATV, or even a tricycle.
Hiking with Eyesis in the backpack (30 lbs/14 kg total weight with the battery pack) allows us to capture a continuous stream of geotagged (GPS) 360° panoramic images. With the current battery pack (just a regular UPS with lead battery) we can take up to one hour and forty minutes of footage at a rate of 5 frames per second.
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October 5, 2010

Elphel at Utah Open Source Conference 2010

by Olga Filippova

Elphel will participate in the UTOSC, October 7-9, 2010, with a presentation on October 8, at 11:30 am.
Free and Open Source software is still more common then Open Hardware and we would like to discuss our experience in designing and manufacturing high performance network digital cameras and the benefits of Open Hardware development.

In our presentation we will talk about:

  • Benefits of being Open Hardware company from the business point of view.
  • Pros and cons of developing a High Performance Open Hardware.
  • Camera as a development platform. Easy customizable software (HTML, JavaScript, PHP) and firmware (Verilog HDL) allows modifying cameras to specific applications.
  • Reconfigurable nature of hardware  designed as a set of high-performance building blocks ready for a variety of configurations.
  • Examples of applications.
  • Future developements.
  • Collaboration with Open Source community.

Please come join us for presentation and in our booth at UTOSC


October 4, 2010

Elphel participation in Russian Open-Source Hardware /mini-conference/

by Olga Filippova

On October 2, 2010 Elphel had participated (remotely) in Russian Open-Source Hardware /mini-conference/ that took place in Saint-Petersburg. Full list of the projects presented are published in Russian

We were also invited and talked about the benefits of Open Hardware for our business, that we have experienced over the 9 years of existence.

The slides from the conference are available on the slideshare site of conference organizer, Alexander Chemeris

We participated over the phone, after an unsuccessful attempt to do video via Ekiga (did not have time to set it up properly), and we don’t use Skype; but at least the sound quality was good. We also had the pleasure to see other presentations, live, on the upstream.tv  most of them in Russian,  and some in English, like presentation from Arduino and Bruce Perens.

The presentations were very informative and we hope they will be uploaded on upstream.tv since we were getting ready to our talk and could only glance at the others.


July 11, 2010

Elphel-Eyesis, assembled

by Olga Filippova

Elphel-Eyesis 1

On July 8,  we have the first panoramic camera completely assembled and ready for the test ride. The total height is 1300 mm [4′ 3″]; it weighs  10 kg or about 22 lbs . The power consumption is 36W when camera is in operation, measured at the AC (110/220VAC) input. Camera head has eight  5 Mpix Color sensors around and one pointing up, with the full resolution of ~38 MPix  (45 MPix before stitching).  The data storage box (also waterproof) – at the bottom of the leg contains 3 swappable 2.5″ hard drives 500 GB each, which is enough to record up to 12 hours of images taken at 5 fps (max frame rate) at full resolution.  Each image is geotagged via external GPS unit attached through the sealed USB connector.

The 8 high-resolution lenses are arranged very compact (distance between entrance pupils is 29.5mm), which allows for very small parallax. The high-res Fish-eye lens is pointed to the sky.

Camera head is 210mm [8.3″] in diameter , is waterproof, contains 3 Elphel 10353 processor boards and 3 Elphel 10369 extension boards, which provide IDE, SATA, USB, RS232, and other interfaces (only SATA, USB and sync I/Os are used in Eyesis configuration). Nine sensor boards (10338D) are connected through the three 10359A multiplexer boards that provide temporary storage for the images – all 3 sensors attached to the same 10359A board are triggered simultaneously, but data is transferred to the system boards one at a time. (more…)


June 12, 2010

Elphel-Eyesis Progress

by Olga Filippova

Eyesis camera shade, before anodising

3 x 10353 processing boards with 3 connected sensors each

The first 3 Elphel-Eyesis prototypes are nearing completion. Even though there were delays from our suppliers we finally received the last remaining parts and can now finish the camera and data storage assembly.

There were concerns that the pole and its attachments could have aerodynamic problems and that the system could be a whistle at higher speeds.
Today we tested the assembled camera shade for acoustical noise while moving at speed 30-55 mph, luckily the tests proved that there was nothing to worry about.
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