Storm Chasing Camera Robot

Skip Talbot

Storm Chasing Camera Robot

Postby Skip Talbot » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:00 pm

Hey all, thought I would show off my project.

I'm a storm chaser and wanted a way to be able to get video from any angle while driving. I've used the Phidgets servo controllers, interface boards, and sensors to build a pan/tilt camera mount and weather station and mounted it to the roof of my van. The servos and video camera are mounted under an acrylic dome and the control box is inside the van. I've written some software that allows me to control the pan and tilt angles directly with knobs on the control box or automatically based on my GPS position and downloaded radar data of a storm's or tornado's position. I'm also using the phidgets temperature and dewpoint sensors along with InSpeed's wind direction and speed sensors, connected via the Phidgets interface kit. I run everything into a USB hub so there is only one cable that conncts to the laptop from the control box. The video camera is a Sony HDR-XR500v. Its high definition and records to hard drive so I can let it run for the entire chase, capturing the whole thing. I can pan 360 degrees, tilt 110 degrees (full vertical to pointed down a little), and the view is unobstructed.

Here's some shots of the project:

This was my first season chasing with it, and I was able to successfully record four tornadoes with it. Here's some video grabs of them:

Thanks to the Phidgets folks for the great product and for the help in the forums herer that made this project a reality.


Re: Storm Chasing Camera Robot

Postby Robert » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:06 pm

Reminds me of Twister.......

Nice job.

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