Track horse motion with servo driven video head -remote riding lessons

Hi,

This is not my area of expertise and I am looking for advice on how to achieve an outcome that will require an iPhone on a tripod that auto tracks (pan only) a horse and rider from the centre of a 20 x 60 meter flat horse arena for approximately 1 hour. ie a real time video horse riding lesson necessitated by Corvid 19 restrictions.

This does not have to be high end gear (I do have a conservative budget) but I envisage the full solution working like this.

Two iPhones:
#1. At the horse end we would have rider with an iPhone mounted to the helmet viewing riders hands and horses head. EarPods in rider's ears communicating live with instructor over cellular connection.
#2. Previously mentioned iPhone mounted on a tripod that autopans continuously following the horse and rider. Instructor can monitor both iPhone video streams and give audio only feedback. There would be basically no other significant movement in the area so software that tracks movement might work? Conversely the rider could carry some kind of beacon for the servo driven head to track?

Clearly I have no idea how but that's why I am asking here. If there are more appropriate forums to post this to please let me know.

Many thanks

Mark




Comments

  • Welcome aboard.

    It seems like a fun thing to DIY, but if you need something quick and reliable take a look at PTZ IP cameras. Have the instructor or someone else control the camera. There are also 360 degree cams, that show a flat image based on motion, but you wouldn't see much 30 meters away. I think a few strategically placed fixed cams could work too.

    I would not suggest mounting anything to an equestrian helmet. Insurance hates it and I'm sure you know people fall off, and phones are easily broken.

    If you want to do tracking, more info would help. You'd have to post more details. For example, a child going 2 mph indoors would require a lot less than an adult going mach 1 outside and rapidly changing direction.
  • There are off the shelf solutions. I found these in less than 10 minutes.

    https://www.jigabot.com
    https://soloshot.com

    Since you specified pan only, that simplifies the hardware a lot. So, just one servo to rotate the camera. It could be controlled from the headphone jack. https://instructables.com/id/Control-Servo-With-Headphone-Jack/ Almost forgot that iPhones don't have headphone jacks. :grin:

    The real trouble will be the software. I expect that video motion tracking code would be difficult enough to be annoying. In the desired operating configuration, the background would move and the horse and rider would be approximately stationary.

    There is also an option of using 360 degree (fisheye) lens. The resolution of this may be too low since it spreads out the camera's resolution over a very wide area.


    GPS may be reasonable. Both phones have GPS so it would be easy to compute the bearing from camera to rider. So all that is left is to point the camera in that direction.

    Does the tracking need to be continuous, or can it loose the rider for a short time to reset? I haven't used Parallax's continous rotation servos to know if they can maintain an exact angle over a long period. Apparently not, unless you get the ones with the feedback encoder. :blush: Actually, it doesn't matter. The phones have a compass to calibrate absolute angle.

    The phones could do most of the work, short of actually moving itself. Or it could be build as a stand-alone system for maybe $200 of Parallax parts, phones not included.



  • Possibly a less expensive but more precise solution is to use a Raspberry Pi and OpenCV (Open Computer Vision), since there is already software that addresses a lot of what you need.

    The PyImageSearch website has a lot of information, and a tutorial on using OpenCV to track objects, colors or even faces with a Raspberry Pi, a camera and a simple pan & tilt set up. Look at the examples where the camera live tracks an item by color (imagine a big orange dot pasted to the horse's saddle, chest, etc...).

    OpenCV exists to allow developing a solution without recreating all of the processes inherent in object detection. You just need to think about what you want to accomplish rather than how to program each and every aspect of motion/object detection...

    https://pyimagesearch.com/start-here/


    dgately
  • PTZ ip can't turn 360°, at least not continus
  • Ltech wrote: »
    PTZ ip can't turn 360°, at least not continus

    Sure they do. The issue becomes most are designed to be wall or pole mounted. A few degrees of view would be blocked by such. Unless you mounted it upside down, low to the ground, flipped the image vertically and reversed the controls.

  • Xanadu, you need the power, ccd and lens connection on the moving part of a PTZ.
    You can't continus turn them. The way of mounting do not change it.
    At one point you have to flip, and you lose a couple of degrees and time to do this.

    PTZ is a one block camera, Pan, Tilt, Zoom, (+focus +power +network) unit

    If you break those part in pieces, it is not a PTZ. It is a robot head; and a camera, like SaucySoliton links

    You can use a 8K 360° camera. You have to move the tracking system on you software receiving part.
    8K 360° is expensive but you can zoom in a part of the picture and keep decent definition.
    We do this on big event like the one canceled in Tokyo

    I believe the Jigabot with (iPhone camera) and the IR transmitter mount on the horse would be the easy and reliable way of building you system
  • xanaduxanadu Posts: 3,327
    edited 2020-04-11 - 16:32:47
    You'll be happy to know those signals and power can pass through a continuously rotating axial connector.

    Here, this one is continuous pan and tilt, so you can mount it on a tripod. It was designed IN a wind tunnel, so you know it's good haha.



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  • Ltech wrote: »
    You can use a 8K 360° camera. You have to move the tracking system on you software receiving part.
    8K 360° is expensive but you can zoom in a part of the picture and keep decent definition.
    We do this on big event like the one canceled in Tokyo

    I believe the Jigabot with (iPhone camera) and the IR transmitter mount on the horse would be the easy and reliable way of building you system

    Maybe IR tracking, what about in bright sunlight?

    Read the reviews. Soloshot 1 and 2 were both discontinued because they didn't work well. An 8K 360 camera would be great but again, it depends on how far away it is. Since OP didn't leave any information about anything important I'll just stop typing now ; )
  • If I had to do this project I think I would make a simple battery powered base that could rotate continuously. On top of that put a DJI Osmo ($99). The Osmo would take care of the tracking but can only pan +/- ~170 degrees. Connected to the Osmo would be a single potentiometer, the pot would tell the base which direction and how fast to rotate in order to keep the Osmo from hitting its limits.
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