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¶ ladypack
I've slowly been transitioning from ubiquitous computing to computer vision. A few months ago, I joined Seth Teller's research group and started working with a ladybug2 omnidirectional camera. Omnidirectional here just means the camera is composed of six individual cameras pointed in different directions so that they collectively subtend almost the entire sphere. The idea is to use it for localization and navigation - the task of a computer figuring out where it is based on sensory information and how to get from one point to another.

Collecting and processing data with the ladybug2 is difficult, mostly because it delivers so much of it. Each frame is six 1024x768 images, and analyzing 15 frames per second means going through 70 MB/s. Compressing the data helps the data transfer, but that means it has to be uncompressed before analysis.

To gather data, I got some ideas from Charlie Kemp and built a wearable computer system. The ladybug2 is chest-mounted to give it a reasonable approximation to human perspective. Processing and data storage is done with a laptop which is mounted on a modified backpack. Power and data cables connect the camera to a hardware compression unit on the backpack, which transmits data to the laptop via a Firewire800 connection. Eventually we'll be adding other sensors like a microphone, laser range finder, and inertial sensors. I've been keeping a little website for my progress and thoughts here.

Here's a closeup of the ladybug2 camera unit

The power and fibre optic connection to the hardware compression unit.

The laptop mounted on the modified backpack

I don't think we'll be able to do much realtime processing just yet since the datasets are so large. For now, the ladypack (as I call it) is just going to be a data collection unit.

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