Our OMC sees the light of day

omc_sensorAfter returning from the CDR at the DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen close to Munich in Germany it’s finally time to release some information about one of the most challenging parts of our electronics – the optical medium speed camera, in short: OMC.

What is its task?
First, there are four of it on our experiment, as its job is to capture the deployment of the complete drag sail. Using multiple camera angles, we’ll be able to reconstruct the movements of the booms and the sail in 4 dimensions using a method called photogrammetry.

omcHow do we do it?
There are basically three important parts in it, starting with the data acquisition. We use an Aptina MT9V034 CMOS image sensor. It was chosen because of a relatively high frame rate (60 fps at WVGA resolution, 800×480), with the option of reducing the resolution to increase the frame rate.
The second part in the chain is the processing. For this, we use a Blackfin Digital Signal Processor from Analog Devices; but not directly, as quite some additional engineering effort would be necessary.
To reduce complexity, a Blackfin Core-Module from Bluetechnix is used.
The last part in the chain is the storage. As the requirements are quite high, we have an IDE interface with attached solid state disks as well as an SD-card.
At this point, special thanks go out to our sponsors at Intravis (www.intravis.de) for the disks and to Multi Circuit Boards (www.multi-circuit-boards.eu) for the PCBs!

How far are we?
Of course not as far as we wanted to be – but we achieved quite something, as we had only very little time to actually develop our application or debug existing problems. We already managed to record videos from the image sensor, although they don’t have as many FPS as we wanted them to. Even the IDE bus is working now – a 90° angled connector seemed to disturb the bus timings far enough to create random errors.
Development continues!

But here, finally a snapshot from one of the OMC’s videos!

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