A Wireless Camera Node with Passive Self-righting Mechanism for Capturing Surrounding View

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Kawabata, Kuniaki ; Sato, Hideo ; Suzuki, Tsuyoshi ; Tobe, Yoshito (2010)
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In this report, we have proposed a sensor node and related wireless network for information gathering in disaster areas. We have described a “camera node” prototype developed on this basis, containing a camera with a fisheye lens, a passive self-righting mechanism to maintain the camera orientation, and the systems capability for construction of an ad hoc wireless network, together with a GPS adaptor and an embedded computer timer to identify its position and imaging time. The camera node is relatively easy to deploy and enables acquisition and consolidation of temporally and spatially coherent information on disaster areas. These functions were verified in experiments with this camera sensor prototype. Utilizing prototypes data transmission experiment was done and ad-hoc network construction and stable video data transmission were also verified. We are planning to incorporate modifications to enable more accurate adjustment of the embedded camera attitude. In addition, although a transparent acrylic shell was used in the prototype for the experiments described in this report, we are considering the use of polycarbonate or other impact-resistant material for the shell to increase its durability under dropping or impact from falling debris and rubble. We intend to investigate the development of systems for deployment, retrieval, and redeployment of the camera-bearing nodes and networks by robots or other automated equipment, utilizing the relative ease and simplicity of deployment characteristic of these sensor nodes and the consequent freedom from a need for complex deployment control equipment or procedures. Investigation is also in progress for further reduction of their size and weight, and discussions will be necessary to determine their optimum size for use in disaster areas.
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