The World through the Eyes of the LEGO Street View Car
One can get amazing results, if a person lets his or her mind wander into the unknown territories. One innovation leads to inspirations and this inspiration leads to further innovations. It is this chain that we get to see in the work of Dublin based Mark.
Toying around with a dGPS sensor from Dexter Industries, Mark got this brainwave of mounting the sensor on a huge chassis combined with a camera. What he envisioned to achieve was his very own version of a Google Street View Car.
As we all know, it is easier to think and imagine compared to execution. This is exactly what Mark faced. On paper everything seemed to be so simple but the challenge was to execute it. Putting together a great many parts and pieces he has managed to come up with a prototype of the product that be had imagined but it is yet far from complete. He calls it the LEGO Street View Car and with it he is capable to capture images and then upload them on Google Earth.
May be in the prototype stage but what he has achieved is no less commendable. The chassis, which is based on the Land Rover chassis, is capable of running over grass along with all the components and batteries. This is one of the major achievements in the projects. It has been fit with a pendular suspension and has a four-wheel drive facility. The securely mounted keyfob cameras can capture images around the car. The NXT motors on the car enable the cameras’ shutter release mechanism. The dGPS appears to work pretty well and is able to capture current coordinates. The car is also fit with an NXTBee sensor that helps transmit telemetry to a base station.
The LEGO Street View Car has managed to pack in a lot but it still has a long way to go. As Mark States, he is not yet able to achieve the live video streaming functionality. He has a design in mind but has to work on it to get the desired results. The cameras placed on the car also need to be worked on. As of now he can capture reliable images with the one in the front but the others need adjustments with the shutter movement and placements. Besides that the process of copying images from the car also needs to be automated. As of now it is a manual process. And one of the very important aspects that need to be developed is to enable the car to run on its own.
Having come this far and achieved so much it will not be a surprise that Mark will succeed in developing a device very similar to the one he had imagined. He has the will and the ability to pave the way.