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Help Me Build A Robotic Photographer Wiht Sony Party-Shot

HI I'm a newbie and appreciate any help I can get. I already did a search for photographer and sony party shot and did not see any previous discussion.
Here is what I want to make.

Basically it is an Irobot Create with a light 4.75 ft tall aluminum pole on which a sony party shot module is mounted on top of. If there is a better robot base to use let me know. I would like to keep the total project cost under $600. I already have $100 invested in the sony partyshot+digital camera.
the sony party shot is basically an automatic camera system that has facial detection that will automatic scan and rotate the surroundings looking for people to take photos of. I envision using it at corporate parties, weddings and just random stuff for fun.

I have never done any robotics work, but I am very techy. My programming experience is very small. I took a BASIC class about 12 years ago in college.

I may add a R2D2 Skin over the unit to give it a starwars theme, but I'm worried about weight and balance. It maybe too top heavy. It needs to be around 4.5 to 5 feet tall total so the photos look like they were taken at a normal angle. I will probably add some kind of bumper system at the top, because it's bound to get knocked over. I may also weld up some aluminum tube anti tip extentions so the unit is harder to knock over.

OK, that's the background here is my questions.
I want to program it to randomly go around a room and pause for say 40 seconds , scan and take shots, then move around 10 to 15 feet in any random direction and start all over. I think the Create base will need to stop or the camera will get too confused and not do a good job. I have never used either device so perhaps this hypothesis is incorrect.
I looked at the Create Module's instructions and see that it has some demo modes

"MODE 0 Cover Create attempts to cover an entire room using a combination of behaviors, such as random bounce, wall following, and spiraling."

I like mode zero, but I think I would only want random bounce, not spiraling. Can anyone recommend a programmer to do this?

I also want some kind of sensor so that it does not run into objects and people. I've seen the roomba hit things before they change direction. I'd prefer the sensor be used to avoid hitting things; i was thinking a 2' proximity would be fine.

Should I jsut buy the $235 ez robot kit with the Create module from irobot? Has someone already made a robot that does this sort of thing I can just buy? Seems like a pretty basic function set, but I've never built a robot.

Any other suggestions will be appreciated. thanks for your time.

PS originally posted this at the robotreviews.com forum, but someone suggested this set.

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#27  
The camera you are using does it have a hotshoe or sync output,thats another place you can make a tap point to turn on MP3 file using a digtal input and script.

you what the mp3 say cheese or smile before the flash not when it flashes.
#28  
Wow, now that's some good thinking. When I first read this thread a few days ago I thought it would be kinda creepy having a robot moving around the room snapping pictures of people. However now that your've given the subjects of the roving photographer a way to interact with the robot snapping their pictures and a way for them to benefit it seems less invasive. Could I suggest that you include a "Opt Out" button that a subject could press before their picture is taken? Some may consider it a invasion of privacy if not given the choice. *sick*

Other then that I think this is a very cool concept. Please keep posting on your build and progress.
#29  
i have seen this design been done before on a irobot platform,thaey wasent using EZB
need to find the link

here is one link i found

robotic photographer
#30  
check the video it says cheese and smile for the camera and then takes a picture then uploads to to flicker or i guess you can use a wireless (wifi) printer
#31  
Actually that's pretty cool. I can see this being used at wedding receptions and office parties. Of course it really takes out the human factor of choice and angle. The artistic and stealth elements of photography are gone. For example; how can this little machine capture the loving first kiss and that look in the eyes of a bride and groom as they dance their wedding dance at the reception. It could be a nice addition to a human photographer at one of these functions or even at an entrance of a amusement park like Six Flags or Disney Land.
#32  
yes you are correct,i bought so many digital camera's and i have a pro slr digital camera and another for underwater,
so it is hard to capture the right photos ,plus able to set the F stop ,aperture,ISO setting and more
on point and shoot its a lot easy.
\i think at parties and some wedding photos would be ok,it wont give you professional photos
#33  
Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4) looks interesting, It looks like you need to know how to program C# in order to use it though?

I really do like how the kinetic sensor can track down people and go to them for photos. Wonder what the robot does when it is surrounded by many people?

Darn there are soo many choices Ez-robot, Axion, Arundio, and now Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4). I'm guessing ez-rob0t is still the easiest to use. too bad it doesn't support the kinetic sensor, that is what makes the robot in that video work so well.

The camera height is wayyy too low.

Also Unless I learn how to hack into the sony party shot robot , having the robot say something BEFORE It takes the pictures will be hard to do.

Lastly I like that platform in the video, wonder how much it costs and weighs?
#36  
you dont need the EDDIE platform,on camera height you can add tilt to get more height.

what i see they are using remote port to first say cheese and then trigger the camera to take a picture with flash


I been thinking about you design for awhile and i have a sensor i use in my designs its a small IR people sensor,called PIR SENSOR AMN22111,ABOUT $15 AT DIGIKEY
now you can get PIR SENSORS made mostly for alarms ,but you cant set the trigger point

Since it analog you can set many trigger points for one person or many,then first trigger mp3 and then a delay and take a photo,also have a blinking light to let the person camera getting to take a photo and set it solid when photo is taken

here is a link to my project using that type of sensor,very tiny

my brookstone rover hack
#37  
that link on the paparazzi robot doesnt work
here it is again and many photos of the robot on how it was made

paparazzi by ken rinaldo

i would may be latter make a design kinda like that ,but with adjustable pole
tripod looks better then one pole,mainly it may fall over,no way to balance its self with out a gyro
#38  
thanks for that link, the photos look horrible. Even with the two side flashes the people look like stunned deer in the headlights look most of the time. Maybe the artist was going for that based on this paparazzi theme. The whole description is over the top esoteric. It's a robotic camera, not a baptism into the digital realm LOL. Guess you gotta hype it up somehow.

also found out about turtle bot and ROS platform.
http://turtlebot.com/
unfortunately this also requires programming skillz.
#39  
I see they are using a point and shoot camera,plus lighting it another problem,i dont think with that designs you can get a professional photo

best camera is a SLR DIGITAL,like my CANON REBEL 12.2 MEG ,can change any len attachments

I see on the on the sony party-shot they not making it any more ,plus the camera's that work with it.
#40  
YES i build my own turtlebot is uses LINUZ AND ROS software ,plus KINECT SENSOR
Programming not too hard ,much info on the site to set it up
AND me me my programming is bad,but not for turtlebot software
plus they have a usb DRIVE with all software ,so it plug and play

I didnt know about the drive when i installed mine
#41  
So what do you think is the best/easiest platform for this task? Microsoft RDS, or Turtlebot ROS, or EZ robot?

I'm actually a photographer by trade, so I know a DSLR is "better", but honestly I'll be setting resolution down to 4MP or less so the computer can process and print files out fast and play them on the slide show monitor quickly......... 12MP is over kill for this situation. And the main reason the pictures are so "bad" is because the background at the "exhibit" is black.

Lastly I got the party shot and camera used off ebay for dirt cheap. The party shot robot takes care of camera firing, composition, face and smile recognition.

Having to reprogram that functionality into my robot would be a tremendous task for my first robot.

Maybe a future upgrade!
#42  
I would say EZB is the easest to use,best kinda hard to say until DJ has a interface to KINECT
4 mb is a file file size,i mostly use RAW OR 12.2 mb,plus i do a lot of underwater photography
looking at making a robot soon for that using EZB

Scripts are easy even for a non -programmer like you or me.

only problem i see is tapping the firing of the camera,any remote input on camera or party-shot

looking at amazon i do see the party shot for $28 and looking to get it.

WHEN i do i can hack it and find the tap point to trigger the camera,mostly its where is connects to the camera,from there the rest is very easy to do and make scripts for
#43  
I should be getting my sony partyshot soon. I'll see how hackable it is.
#44  
I dont know yet,i just ordered one from amazon for $28.00,
once i get it and troubleshoot it ,witch company i work for says i am one of the best they had.

WILL POST PHOTOS AND INFO ON IT.
#45  
I just got it today,so will start hacking it and will post the info,might need to buy a camera that goes with it to check the signals with my scope.
#46  
I had to get the camera to work out the wires to it,i found out that i got the camera monday,but i have to wait 10 days till i get back from my work trip in china

HAVE you done anything with it yet