CMUCam for drivers

Ok, I missed some of kickoff, but I’ve asked other team members the following question:
Do the rules prohibit sending the cmucam data back to the driver so he can watch first person?

Explicitly, I don’t think so. However, how would you get the data back to the user? Wireless devices are typically disallowed.

Well, you are allowed to hook up a laptop to the Dashboard port. I don’t know, but it may be possible to get an image from the camera here, IDK.

The rules say that you have to ask permission of the officials to use live cammera immages or something like that.

The serial connection they give you doesn’t have enough bandwidth to constantly give you pictures, never mind actual video. Plus the picture quality that it gives is very crummy.

From the Section 5 of this year’s rules:

<R94> Any decorations that involve broadcasting a signal to/from the robot, such as remote cameras, must be cleared with FIRST Engineering prior to use. Teams may not use 900 MHz camera systems.

It is more severe than that:

**<R53> **Custom Circuits may **not: **
Be used for wireless communication, such as sending or receiving a signal to and/or from the alliance station.
Note that the third bullet prohibits any kind of wireless transmission.

You guys have read that the B/W video is low resolution, right?

Wireless transmission is prohibited for functional parts, in this case it’s a non-functional decorative part.

Any display of “robo-camera-view” to the drivers would have to be considered a functional, not decorative, capability and would be subject to the restrictions against wireless communications. Within the rules, it is technically possible to get an image from the CMUcamII back to the OI and potentially displayed on a dashboard computer. However, it is not practical. As previously noted, you cannot add another wireless modem/transmitter to the robot, so any signal must be passed through the RC and IFI radio. So the image from the camera must be encoded, passed through the TTL port on the RC, dumped into one of the data buffers and packetized, sent via the IFI radio to the OI radio, stripped out of the packets, passed through the dashboard port, and re-assembled on the dashboard computer. The biggest bottleneck in the process is the link speed between the RC and OI radios, which were never designed for streaming video (remember, they are only 9600baud radio modems). So, at the end of the process, you are able to get one image about every 60 seconds. Hardly worth it.


Hey, Since I think this thread allows asking this and I couldn’t find anything in the search:

Are you allowed to hook up a laptop to the UI during the competition?

I heard people saying you can’t but I’ve just never seen it in the rulebook …

Yes, laptops can be hooked up to the Dashboard port on the OI.

Sweet, and your sure you can use that during the actual 2:15 min Game to Monitor your Robot? That would make me really happy : )!

See rule <R66>.

Well if you can’t use it to send video back to the drivers, how about using it to record the 15 seconds of autonomous so that you can play back what it saw, just to give you some idea of why certain things happened. It would be a very very usefull debugging tool.

Yes, I think it’s a useful thing.

Where would you store the 15 seconds of digitized video? There is not enough memory in the RC.


Guy with video camera on side of field = more practical.

I mean cmon… the video resolution is like 177 x 200 or something stupid like that. Its made to find color blobs, not to take pictures.

I don’t know, the camera itself is very low res, on the other hand, I think that the rules would allow you to mount a small wireless camera if it had been cleared with FIRST engineering beforehand. You could not allow anyone on the competition floor to see this feed, but you can buy very small UHF (TV channell 16-22 are cheap) transmitters. I have always thought that it would be good to have some on-board video to use for promotional purposes.

On another front, we have played around with using mini ultrasonic sensors to gather data, encoding it on an IC, sending the completed packets back through to the dashboard and using the laptop connected to the dashboard to reconstruct a robot view. I do not think that this would violate any rules since we can have external processors this year, and we would be sending the signal through the FRC modem. We were thinking of using one to help us line up with the remote loading stations.

As far as R66 you are allowed to recieve Data from a Laptop during competition, but sending data (for outsourcing proccessing) may not be include in that or??

<R66> Teams are permitted to connect a portable computing device (Laptop computer, PDAs, etc.) to the RS232 Output of the Dashboard Port of the Operator Interface for the purpose of displaying feedback from the robot while competing in Competition matches. Please note that AC power will not be available at the playing field so these devices will have to run on internal batteries.