Inspiration

Object tracking by drones, but also limitations of drones! Drones cannot fly through dense forests, need a pilot (for now) and are pretty expensive. All these limitations would be removed with the Trackline, a simple and cheap solution.

What it does

TrackLine is an easy to install and low cost system to create awesome pan shots with any desired camera. It is simply a matter of hooking a wire to two ends and the camera will track you wherever you go. With our robust solution, the user will be able to take the perfect shots to capture any experience.

How we built it

We used OpenCV to track an object or person. Behind the smooth motions, a robust PI control system was also tuned by creating a model of the motor using simulink and step responses. Finally to hold everything together, the chassis was carefully designed on Siemens NX CAD software with weight distribution, weight relief, stability and easy assembly in mind.

Challenges we ran into

Due to a lack of hardware availability and experience on specific libraries/software, the design choices had to change a lot throughout the 24 hours of the event (until the last 2 hours!)

Accomplishments that we are proud of

  • Achieve wireless operation of device

  • Realize tracking

  • Obtaining an accurate model for the motor

  • Tuning a PI controller to be robust to model uncertainty and disturbances, and have an error converging to 0

  • Combining 3D printed parts and carbon fiber to create a solid assembly

  • Integration of IR range finder to detect the end of the Trackline

What I learned

  • Low level communication protocols

  • Compiling models from simulink to arduino/raspberry pi

  • Working with limited hardware

  • Open CV

  • Team work under tight constraints (this was an ambitious project for us..)

  • Multidisciplinary coordination (Mechanical design, control systems, computer vision, telecommunication )

What's next for TrackLine

  • Configure openCV on the raspberry

  • Ratchet mechanism

  • Make the whole system smarter (eg. target goes out of frame)

  • Work with a high rpm motor

  • Aim to reduce power consumption

  • Real time simulation with digital inputs

  • Safety protocols

  • Testing

  • More testing

  • Business plan ?

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