Monday, September 8, 2014

Tech Summary

I think I have all the basic software and hardware components in place and functioning. The process is not as streamlined as I would like it to be and there's a million more things to resolve. That being said enough is in place that I can call this a functional setup : )

A Raspberry Pi with a Powered Plugable USB Hub connected to a WiFi Dongle and a USB Extension cable all sit above ground and inside.

The USB Extension cable runs outside through a small hole in a wall and connects to a buried Canon Lide 20 Scanner. Both data & power run over USB. This is convenient and less scary (to me) than connecting a 120v higher amperage scanner to the outside world. Also, not all scanners work when oriented vertically!

The scanner has been waterproofed (so far) via an application of neutral curing acid-free silicone and a thick plastic bag. The scanner sits vertically with the top a couple cm below the earth's surface and the bottom approx. 30cm below.

a) The Pi runs Raspbian, a linux distro based off of Debian.

b) SANE controls the Scanner.

c) ImageMagick is used to flip and convert the scanned image to a JPG.

d) ImageMagick is later used to overlay a timestamp onto the bottom of the JPG.

e) FFMPEG is used to convert a series of sequentially numbered JPGs into a h264 encoded video.

A few bash scripts automate most of this process.

I currently offload all of the images from the Pi onto a somewhat beefier Apple Laptop that process steps d & e. This could be done on the Pi, but would take almost forever.

Short Term Tech Future
1) Backup images to a separate local storage location.

2) Upload images to a separate online storage location.

3) Use online storage location to process and upload compiled videos to youtube.

4) Build new enclosure for webcam version

5) Bury webcam version below the frost line (42" in Michigan)

6) Build complete documentation for the Scanner version

7) Build complete documentation for the Camera version.

Long Term Tech Future
1) Utilize additional sensors to gather more data

2) Figure out more things that can be analyzed from the image feed along

3) Discover new methods of analyzing image feed.

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