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Linux video camera geo-tags, writes to SATA drives

Jul 3, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 46 views

[Updated Jul. 7] — This riveting tale describes the development of a fairly amazing Linux device. Andrey Filippov's latest paper describes how his small Utah-based company fit GPS, DMA-enabled storage, and multi-camera synchronization into its Linux-powered camera, which has an open hardware design.

Many LinuxDevices readers will be familiar with Filippov's work, as the 1995 Russian emigrant, a PhD-holder in physics, has contributed six previous papers. Typically, he describes in technical, high-level terms how hardware and software challenges were overcome in the creation of Elphel's latest intelligent camera designs.

The current installment describes what has to be Elphel's neatest accomplishment yet: shoehorning SATA storage, a GPS receiver, electronic compass, and multi-camera timing synchronization into its NC353L camera. The NC353L camera (pictured top-of-page, click here for a larger view) runs Linux on a 200MHz Axis Etrax FS system-on-chip (SoC) processor (CRIS architecture). The camera also incorporates an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) programmed with HDL (hardware description language) that Elphel publishes under the GPL3. (Also available under open licenses: a fancy AJAX interface and of course, free Ogg Theora codecs.)

Additional topics and themes include:

  • Geo-tagging video to EXIF headers of high-def motion JPEGs (MJPEGs)
  • Does the EXIF JPEG header spec need pitch and roll fields?
  • Opportunities in geo-tagged video and high-framerate digital still cameras
  • Timing challenges with electronic rolling shutters (ERS)
  • You need a non-NDA pin-out of a hardware part, at a minimum, if you hope to incorporate a silicon-level product in open source hardware designs.
  • DMA issues in TruIDE-mode CompactFlash cards, and one potential solution (driver programming, anyone?)
  • USB as a system bus for GPS and electronic compasses
  • Lots more good stuff

To read the full 4,000-word article, click the link below when you have a chunk of quality reading time. Enjoy . . . !

Open source camera records geotagged video to SATA HDD

More papers by Andrey Filippov:

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