The ArmCam

This was a short project I worked on over the summer of 2005.  It consisted of three parts.  First, a webcam mounted on a brace, attached to a servo.  This servo drove the movement of the webcam, in a motion that covered a sweep of approximately 320 degrees.  The servo was controlled by a parallel port signal.  Finally, there was a software component that drove a set of pins on the parallel port high or low to move the servo.  This was mostly an extension on the motor tower, project.

The ArmCam motorized webcam

The ArmCam motorized webcam

I built a web interface so users across the internet could control the camera.  One interesting challenge I ran into was that multiple users could be controlling the camera at the same time.  The data from the web interface was immediately written into an instruction file.  When it did this, it also set the current camera image to a temporary message, saying “the camera is moving.”  This was to prevent the users from getting antsy and moving the camera around too much.

The instruction file was read by a Visual Basic program at periodic intervals.  Once the program read the command in from the file, it created movement information via a separate parallel port controller.

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