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Journal cybermace5's Journal: Webcam bot

A robot materialized out of my junk box on Sunday afternoon, while I was wondering what to do with the guts of my old webcam.

I found two old micro R/C servos, grabbed a spare PIC16F84, and a sheet of 1/8" lucite. Added a few discrete components, thermoformed the lucite with a blowtorch, and it became a pan/tilt unit with integrated webcam.

It is controlled over a serial port, and the USB port connects to the camera and provides power for the camera, servos, and PIC.

It's pretty small, about 3" square and 4" tall. The servos provide around 180 degrees motion in pan and tilt. I wrote a control app last evening, it sends commands over a user-selected COM port, allows the user to control pan and tilt, adjust the motion increment, and send the camera to a centered position. I'll add the ability to type in "bookmarks" and assign them to servo coordinates. That way I can program all surrounding coworker's desks for quick access (as well as the door to Engineering).

I'll have to take some photos and maybe work up a little construction walkthrough. It was pretty simple to make, and with the lucite bent to form all of the parts (no gluing required!) it does look sleek.

Almost over the cold. Hope it's the last one this year...yeah right ;-)

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"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek