PORTABLE DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA CONFIGURED FOR REMOTE IMAGE ACQUISITION CONTROL AND VIEWING
A wearable digital video camera (10) is equipped with wireless connection protocol and global navigation and location positioning system technology to provide remote image acquisition control and viewing. The Bluetooth® packet-based open wireless technology standard protocol (400) is preferred for use in providing control signals or streaming data to the digital video camera and for accessing image content stored on or streaming from the digital video camera. The GPS technology (402) is preferred for use in tracking of the location of the digital video camera as it records image information. A rotating mount (300) with a locking member (330) on the camera housing (22) allows adjustment of the pointing angle of the wearable digital video camera when it is attached to a mounting surface.
This disclosure relates to point-of-view (POV) video cameras or camcorders and, in particular, to an integrated hands-free, POV action sports video camera or camcorder that is configured for remote image acquisition control and viewing.BACKGROUND INFORMATION
First-person video cameras area relatively new product category that have been adapted to capture POV video by action sports enthusiasts in a hands-free manner. Conventional first-person video cameras primarily comprise a lens that must be tethered to a separate digital video recorder or camcorder.
These products are not generally hands-free products, and consumers have been employing their own unique mounting techniques to permit “hands-free” video recording of action sports activities.
More recently, integrated hands-free, POV action sports video cameras have become available.
Preferred embodiments of a portable digital video camera or camcorder (hereinafter collectively, “video camera”) are equipped with global positioning system (GPS) technology for data acquisition and wireless connection protocol to provide remote image acquisition control and viewing. A wireless connection protocol, such as the Bluetooth® packet-based open wireless technology standard protocol, is used to provide control signals or stream data to a wearable video camera and to access image content stored on or streaming from a wearable video camera. Performing intelligent frame analysis of the image content enables picture setup optimization on one or more cameras simultaneously to enable multi-angle and three-dimensional video. A GPS receiver integrated in the video camera enables tracking of the location of the video camera as it acquires image information. The GPS receiver enables periodic capture of location once every few seconds with near pinpoint accuracy to bring together video and mapping. The inclusion of GPS technology introduces a new level of context to any video, making location, speed, time, and outside world conditions as important as the scene recorded. GPS capability makes it relatively easy to capture video within the action and share it online in seconds. For example, a user can watch an epic run down any mountain while tracking progress, speed, and elevation on a map. The GPS data, together with high definition video images, can be readily edited to organize video content, configure the video camera, and post stories online.
GPS ground plane customization and electrical coupling to the housing or other metal components of the video camera improves reception and performance. The ground plane is maximized by coupling it with an aluminium case that houses the video camera. The result is higher antenna gain and consequent enhanced signal reception when the video camera is mounted in multiple positions.
The video camera is configured with a signal path that allows for provision of a separate signal security module for use with only those applications that require the separate security module. An iPhone™ security module is packaged separately in a small subscriber identity module (SIM) card form factor.
Simplified mounting of the wearable video camera is accomplished by rotating the horizon 180° so that the video camera can be mounted fully upside down as the picture remains in the proper orientation. Rotation of the horizon may be accomplished electrically or mechanically. A rotating mount with a locking feature that allows adjustment of the angle of the video camera when it is attached to a mounting surface uses an adhesive, a strap, or another connection option. The video camera housing is equipped with a scissor spring to assist in moving a slide switch actuator over a long travel range. A user wearing the video camera uses the slide switch actuator to initiate video image recording.
The portable digital video camera includes a camera housing and a lens.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera comprise an integrated hands-free, POV action sports digital video camera.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera or the integrated hands-free, POV action sports digital video camera include an image sensor for capturing image data.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera or the integrated hands-free, POV action sports digital video camera include a manual horizon adjustment control for adjusting an orientation of a horizontal image plane recorded by the image sensor with respect to a housing plane of the camera housing.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera or the integrated hands-free. POV action sports digital video camera include a laser alignment system with one or more laser sources capable of projecting light emissions to define a horizontal projection axis that is coordinated with orientation of the horizontal image plane.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera or the integrated hands-free, POV action sports digital video camera include a microphone and a manually operable switch for controlling one or both of audio and video data capturing operations, the switch having an activator that may cover the microphone whenever the switch is in the OFF position.
Some embodiments of the portable digital video camera or the integrated hands-free, POV action sports digital video camera include a “quick-release” mounting system that can be used in conjunction with the laser alignment system to adjust the image capture orientation for pitch, yaw, and roll.
Additional aspects and advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
With reference to
In some preferred embodiments, rotary controller 14 is positioned about a lens 26 and cooperates with a lens shroud 32 to support lens 26 within camera housing 22 such that manual rotation of rotary controller 14 rotates lens 26 with respect to camera housing 22. In other embodiments, lens 26 may remain fixed with respect to camera housing 22 even though rotary controller 14 rotates around lens 26. In some embodiments, lens 26 is a 3.6 mm focal length, four-element glass lens with a 135° viewing angle and a focal length covering a large range, such as from arm's length (e.g., 500 mm) to infinity, which focuses visual information onto image sensor 18 at a resolution such as at 1920×1080. Skilled persons will appreciate that a variety of types and sizes of suitable lenses are commercially available.
In some preferred embodiments, image sensor 18 is supported in rotational congruence with the orientation of rotary controller 14 such that manual rotation of rotary controller 14 rotates image sensor 18 with respect to housing plane 20 of camera housing 22. When image sensor 18 has a fixed relationship with the orientation of rotary controller 14, the image data captured by image sensor 18 do not require any post-capture horizon adjustment processing to obtain play back of the image data with a desired horizontal image plane 16. In particular, rotary controller 14 can be set to a desired horizontal image plane 16, and image sensor 18 will capture the image data with respect to the orientation of horizontal image plane 16. In some embodiments, image sensor 18 may remain fixed with respect to camera housing 22 even though rotary controller 14 rotates around image sensor 18.
With reference to
A lens cap holder 38 may be secured to rotary controller 14 by screw threads and cooperates with an O-ring 40a and to provide support for a lens cover 42 (such as a piece of glass). A lens holder 44 and a lens assembly holder 46 may also be employed to support lens 26 in a desired position with respect to the other components in optical assembly 34. Lens assembly holder 46 may be secured to lens cap holder 38 by screw threads and an O-ring 40b. An O-ring or bearings 43 may be employed between lens assembly holder 46 and a main housing 100 to facilitate the rotation of lens assembly holder 46 about control axis 24 with respect to main housing 100. A set screw 45 may be employed to secure lens assembly holder 46 of optical assembly 34 to main housing 100 without impeding the rotation of lens assembly holder 46 or the components within it. In some embodiments, rotary controller 14, lens cap holder 38, O-ring 40a, lens cover 42, lens shroud 32, laser sources 48, lens 26, lens holder 44, image sensor 18, internal rotation controller 36, O-ring 40b, and lens assembly holder 46 of optical assembly 34 may rotate together. Skilled persons will appreciate that several of these components may be fixed with respect to camera housing 22 or their synchronized rotation may be relaxed. For example, lens cover 42, lens 26, and lens holder 44 need not rotate.
With reference to
In some embodiments, rotary controller 14 cooperates with an encoder to orient image sensor 18 to a desired horizontal image plane 16. Alternatively, the encoder could guide post-capture horizon adjustment processing to adjust horizontal image plane 16 of the captured image so that it is transformed to play back the image data with the encoded horizontal image plane 16.
In some embodiments, rotary controller 14 is positioned in one or both of an arbitrary location away from lens 26 and an arbitrary relationship with the position of image sensor 18. For example, rotary controller 14 may be positioned on a side 28 of camera housing 22 or on a back door 30, and rotary controller 14 may remotely control the orientation of image sensor 18 or may control an encoder. Skilled persons will appreciate that an arbitrarily located manual horizon adjustment control need not be of a rotary type and may be of an electronic instead of a mechanical type.
In some embodiments, rotary controller 14 provides greater than or equal to 180° rotation of horizontal image plane 16 with respect to housing plane 20 of camera housing 22 in each of the clockwise and counterclockwise directions. In one example, rotary controller 14 provides 180° plus greater than or equal to 6° of additional rotation in each direction, providing a 360° rotation of horizontal image plane 16 with respect to housing plane 20. This adjustability includes embodiments in which the orientation of rotary controller 14 is in congruence with the orientation of image sensor 18, as well as embodiments employing an encoder. Preferably, both lens 26 and image sensor 18 rotate together 360° within a pivoting hermetically sealed capsule. This means that, no matter how an operator mounts digital video camera 10, image sensor 18 can be rotated to capture a level world.
With reference to
In some preferred embodiments, rotation indicator 54 and horizontal notch 58 are in a collinear alignment (in the “home” position) when horizontal image plane 16 is perpendicular to housing plane 20. Thus, if digital video camera 10 were set on a level horizontal surface and the two notches were collinear, horizontal image plane 16 would be horizontal.
With reference to
In some embodiments, a single laser source 48 may employ beam shaping optics and or a beam shaping aperture, filter, or film to provide a desired beam shape such as a line, lines of decreasing or increasing size, or a smiley face. In some embodiments, only a single beam shape is provided. In some embodiments, multiple beam shapes are provided and can be exchanged such as through manual or electronic rotation of a laser filter. Skilled persons will appreciate that two or more laser sources 48 may be outfitted with beam shaping capabilities that cooperate with each other to provide horizontal projection axis 52 or an image that provides horizontal projection axis 52 or other guidance tool.
In some embodiments, two laser sources 48 (or two groups of laser sources) are employed to project two beams of light that determine horizontal projection axis 52. Two laser sources 48 may be mounted on opposite sides of lens 26 such that their positions determine a laser mounting axis that bisects lens 26. In some embodiments, lens shroud 32 provides support for laser sources 48 such that they are positioned to emit light through apertures 60 in lens shroud 32 (
Laser sources 48 may be diode lasers that are similar to those used in laser pointers. Laser sources 48 preferably project the same wavelength(s) of light. In some embodiments, an operator may select between a few different wavelengths, such as for red or green, depending on contrast with the background colors. In some embodiments, two wavelengths may be projected simultaneously or alternately. For example, four laser sources may be employed with red and green laser sources 48 positioned on each side of lens 26 such that red and green horizontal projection axes 52 are projected simultaneously or alternately in the event that one of the colors does not contrast with the background.
In some embodiments, laser sources 48 may be responsive to a power switch or button 64, which in some examples may be located on back door 30 of camera housing 22. A rotation of horizon adjustment control system 12 or rotary controller 14 may provide laser sources 48 with an ON condition responsive to a timer, which may be preset such as for five seconds or may be a user selectable time period. Alternatively, a single press of button 64 may provide laser sources 48 with an ON condition with a second press of button 64 providing an OFF condition. Alternatively, a single press of button 64 may provide an ON condition responsive to a timer, which may be preset such as for five seconds or may be a user selectable time period. Alternatively, button 64 may require continuous pressure to maintain laser sources 48 in an ON condition. Button 64 may also control other functions such as standby mode. Skilled persons will appreciate that many variations are possible and are well within the domain of skilled practitioners.
Skilled persons will also appreciate that any type of video screen, such as those common to conventional camcorders, may be connected to or be a part of camera housing 22. Such video screen and any associated touch display may also be used as feedback for orientation in conjunction with or separately from laser sources 48. Skilled persons will appreciate that the video screen may take the form of a micro-display mounted internally to camera housing 22 with a viewing window to the screen through camera housing 22 or may take the form of an external LCD screen.
With reference to
In some preferred embodiments, when switch activator 80 is slid or toggled, it moves a magnetic reed that is recognized from an impulse power sensor. Once the sensor recognizes the magnetic reed has been toggled to the ON position, the pulse power system is then triggered to power up most or all of the electronics of digital video camera 10, including all of the electronics required for recording as well as selected other electronics or simply all the electronics. Once full power is provided to the system electronics, a feed from image sensor 18 begins encoding and writing to the data storage medium. As soon as the first frames are written to the data storage medium, a signal is sent to an LED 82 to indicate via a light pipe 84 that digital video camera 10 is recording. Thus, activation of switch activator 80 initiates recording nearly instantaneously.
In some embodiments, switch activator 80 powers up the electronics and initiates recording from a standby mode such as after button 64 has been pushed to activate the pulse power mode. In other embodiments, switch activator 80 powers up the electronics and initiates recording directly without any pre-activation. In some embodiments, a video encoder that cooperates with image sensor 18 and a microprocessor provides instructions to the video encoder. In some embodiments, switch activator 80 is adapted to substantially simultaneously control supply of power to the microprocessor, image sensor 18, and the video encoder, such that when switch activator 80 is placed in the ON position the microprocessor, image sensor 18, and the video encoder all receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously initiate a video data capturing operation.
In some embodiments, an audio encoder cooperates with a microphone 90, and the microprocessor provides instructions to the audio encoder. In some embodiments, switch activator 80 is adapted to substantially simultaneously control the supply of power to microphone 90 and the audio encoder such that when switch activator 80 is placed in the ON position, the microprocessor, microphone 90, and the audio encoder all receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously initiate an audio data capturing operation.
In some embodiments, when switch activator 80 is placed in the OFF position, the microprocessor, image sensor 18, and the video encoder all cease to receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously cease the video data capturing operation. In some embodiments, when switch activator 80 is placed in the OFF position, the microprocessor, microphone 90, and the audio encoder all cease to receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously cease the audio data capturing operation.
In some embodiments, the microprocessor, image sensor 18, the video encoder, microphone 90, and the audio encoder all receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously initiate the video data and audio data capturing operations. In some embodiments, the microprocessor, image sensor 18, the video encoder, microphone 90, and the audio encoder all cease to receive power substantially concurrently and thereby substantially instantaneously cease the video data and audio data capturing operations.
In some embodiments, switch activator 80 controls supply of power to additional electronics such that the additional electronics are deactivated when switch activator 80 is in the OFF position and such that the additional electronics are activated when switch activator 80 is in the ON position.
Skilled persons will appreciate that switch activator 80 may be designed to have more than two slide settings. For example, in addition to ON and OFF settings for recording, switch activator 80 may provide an intermediate setting to activate laser sources 48, to activate one or more status indicators, or initiate other functions in digital video camera 10.
The use of a magnetic reed switch as an embodiment for switch activator 80 prevents water or other fluids from entering through the camera housing 22. Skilled persons will appreciate that other waterproof ON/OFF switch designs are possible. In preferred embodiments, digital video camera 10 also employs a waterproof microphone 90, such as an omni-directional microphone with a sensitivity (0 dB=1V/Pa, 1 KHz) of −44±2 dB and a frequency range of 100-10,000 Hz, for capturing audio data and providing them to the data storage medium or to a second data storage medium. Alternatively, camera housing 22 may include breathable, watertight materials (such as GoreTex™) to prevent the egress of water without requiring a waterproof microphone 90. Skilled persons will appreciate microphones with a large variety of operational parameters that are suitable for microphone 90 are commercially available or can be manufactured to suit desired criteria.
In some embodiments, microphone 90 is positioned beneath switch activator 80 such that switch activator 80 covers microphone 90 whenever switch activator 80 is in the OFF position and such that switch activator 80 exposes microphone 90 whenever switch activator 80 is in the ON position. The audio data capturing operation is preferably deactivated when switch activator 80 is in the OFF position and that the audio data capturing operation is preferably activated when switch activator 80 is in the ON position. The ON and OFF conditions of the audio data capturing operation may be controlled by switch activator 80 in conjunction with the ON and OFF conditions of the video capturing operation.
With reference to
Side caps 112 may be ultrasonically welded to the exterior surfaces of housing cover 108 and the lower portion of main housing 100, which form the lower portions of sides 28 of camera housing 22. In some embodiments camera housing 22 is made from brushed aluminum, baked fiberglass, and rubber. In particular, main housing 100, housing cover 108, and side caps 112 may be made from aluminum. Front and bottom trim piece 106 may also be ultrasonically welded to main housing 100.
With reference to
Housing rail cavities 122 and housing rails 124 may be formed by cut outs in side caps 112 that are mounted to main housing 100. In some embodiments, digital video camera 10 is bilaterally symmetrical and has an equal number of housing rail cavities 122 on each of side caps 112 and an equal number of housing rails 124 on each of side caps 112. In some embodiments, digital video camera 10 may for example provide two housing rail cavities 122 (such as shown in
In some embodiments, rail cavities 122 have a “T”-like, wedge-like, or trapezoid-like cross-sectional appearance. Skilled persons will appreciate that the dimensions of the stem or lateral branches of the “T” can be different. For example, the stem can be thicker than the branches, or one or more of the branches may be thicker than the stem; similarly, the stem can be longer than the branches, and one or more of the branches may be longer than the stem. The cross-sectional shapes may have flat edges or corners, or the edges or corners may be rounded. Skilled persons will also appreciate that numerous other cross-sectional shapes for rail cavities 122 are possible and that the cross-sectional shapes of different housing rail cavities 122 need not be the same whether in the same side cap 112 or in different side caps 112. Similarly, housing rail cavities 122 may have different lengths and housing rails 124 may have different lengths. The bottom of trim piece 106 may be alternatively or additionally fitted with housing rails 124.
In some embodiments, one or more of housing rail cavities 122 may contain one or more bumps or detents 128. In some embodiments, each side 28 of camera housing 22 contains at least one bump or detent 128. In some embodiments, each housing rail cavity 122 contains at least one bump or detent 128. In some examples, however, only a single housing rail cavity 122 on each side 28 contains a bump or detent 128. Skilled persons will appreciate that the different sides 28 need not contain the same number of bumps or detents 128.
In some embodiments, one or more of mount rails 136 on rail plug 132 may contain one or more detents or bumps 140. In some embodiments, each mount rail 136 contains at least one detent or bump 140. In some examples, however, only a single mount rail 136 contains a detent or bump 140. The detents or bumps 140 are adapted to mate with bumps or detents 128 such that if camera housing 22 has detents 128 then rail plug 132 has bumps 140 or if camera housing 22 has bumps 128 then rail plug 132 has detents 140. Skilled persons will appreciate that in some alternative embodiments, housing rails 124 have bumps or detents 128 and mount rail cavities 138 have detents or bumps 140.
The versatile mounting system 120 provides for ease of mounting and orientation of digital video camera 10 with ease of detachment of digital video camera 10 with retention of the mounted orientation. In some embodiments, base mount 130 may have a very small footprint and may be attached to a surface with an adhesive pad designed for outdoor use. After base mount 130 has been attached to a surface, rail plug 132 can be detached from base mount 130.
In some embodiments, rail plug 132 has a circumferential sawtoothed edge 142 that is mated to a sawtooth-receiving inside edge 144 of a base mount cavity 146 adapted to receive rail plug 132. In some embodiments, rail plug 132 has a compression fit within base mount 130. In some embodiments, hook and loop double-toothed Velcro™ may be used instead of or in addition to a compression fit technique to further secure rail plug 132 within base mount 130.
Mount rails 136 of rail plug 132 can slide into housing rail cavities 122 of camera housing 22 as mount rail cavities 138 of rail plug 132 slide onto housing rails 124 of camera housing 22 as indicated by a direction arrow 148 (
In some embodiments, rail plug 132 and base mount 130 may be made from a hard, but flexible material such as rubber or a polymer with similar properties, but skilled persons will appreciate that rail plug 132 and base mount 130 may be made from a hard or soft plastic. Because base mount 130 can be flexible, it can be attached to a variety of surfaces such as, for example, the surfaces of helmets, snowboard decks, skis, fuel tanks, windows, doors, and vehicle hoods. The type and flexibility of the material of flat mount 126 may provide a “rubber” dampening effect as well as enhance rail sliding, rail engagement, and plug engagement. Mounting system 120 may also include a runaway leash (not shown).
When recording of an activity is completed, rail plug 132 with the attached digital video camera 10 may be disengaged from base mount 130 for safe storage or data uploading. Base mount 130 can be left attached to the surface and need not be re-attached and/or re-adjusted. Alternatively, camera housing 22 may be disengaged from rail plug 132, leaving rail plug 132 engaged with base mount 130 so that the original orientation of mount rails 136 of rail plug 132 is maintained to permit quick reattachment of digital video camera 10 without requiring its orientation to be re-adjusted to base mount 130 or the person, equipment, or vehicle to which base mount 130 is mounted.
Base mount 130a is configured to open and close around poles 160, particularly poles of standardized recreational equipment and especially such poles having small diameters of about 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm). In some embodiments, base mount 130a has a locking pin 164 with a head 166 that can be secured within a lock chamber 168. Locking pin 164 increases compression against pole 160 to prevent base mount 130a from rotating around pole 160 after its desired positioned is established. Base mount 130a may also be provided with a pin door cover 170 to prevent debris from accessing locking pin 164 or lock chamber 168.
With reference to
Skilled persons will appreciate that base mounts 130a through 130d can also alternatively be configured to receive a round rail plug 132 (of
In some embodiments, base mount 130g has a different locking mechanism from that of base mount 130a (
Mounting system 300 operates in the following manner. A user adjusts the angular position of digital video camera 10, which is operatively connected to mounting rails 136, by rotating rail plug 132 within base mount 130h. To permit such rotation, the user pushes nonlocking end piece 336 to slide locking member 330 so that serrated inner surface 354 moves away from and does not engage sawtoothed edge 142 of rail plug 132. Legs 364 of plug 360 contact the boundary of oblong hole 338 and thereby stop the sliding motion of locking member 330 with its locking end piece 334 projecting outwardly from its associated slot 314. Locking tabs 346 fit in their corresponding grooves 350 to releasably hold locking member 330 in its unlocked position. Rotation of rail plug 132 provides audible, tactile feedback to the user because of the meshing relationship between sawtooth-receiving edges 144 and sawtoothed edge 142.
Upon completion of angular position adjustment of digital video camera 10, the user locks rail plug 132 in place by pushing locking end piece 334 to slide locking member 330 so that serrated inner surface 354 engages sawtoothed edge 142 of rail plug 132. The sliding motion of locking member 330 stops with its nonlocking end piece 336 projecting outwardly from its associated slot 314. Locking tabs 346 fit in their corresponding grooves to releasably hold locking member 330 in its locked position.
Base mount 130h can be directly mounted to a mounting surface with use of an adhesive. Base mount 130h also may be mated to a variety of mounting surfaces by adding a custom connecting plate, such as strap-connecting plate 370, with screws 372 or another technique such as adhesive bonding or welding. These connecting plates may alter the shape of base mount 130h to better connect to shaped surfaces or may include a variety of attaching mechanisms, such as, for example, a strap 374 or a hook.
With reference again to
In some embodiments, the status indicators may provide a different color depending on the status of the item in question. In some embodiments, green, yellow, and red LEDs are used to indicate whether the battery is completely charged, half-charged, or nearly depleted. Similarly, in some embodiments, green, yellow, and red LEDs are used to indicate whether the SD memory card is nearly empty, half-empty, or nearly full. In other embodiments, green light indicates greater than or equal to 80% space or charge, yellow light indicates greater than or equal to 30% space or charge, and red light indicates less than 30% space or charge. Skilled persons will appreciate that the number and meaning of colors can be varied. Camera housing 22 may provide symbols indicating what items light pipes 84 and 392 designate, such as a battery symbol 394 and a memory card symbol 396 on back door 30.
To facilitate an easier and more manageable process for the video once it has been recorded, digital video camera 10 may be designed to automatically segment the video into computer and web-ready file sizes. The segment can be automatically determined by the hardware during the recording process without intervention by the user. In some embodiments, software will automatically close a video file and open a new file at predefined boundaries. In some embodiments, the boundaries will be time-based, for example, ten minutes for each segment, or size-based, for example 10 MB for each segment, Additionally, the segmentation process may be designed so that file boundaries are based on preset limits or so that the user can adjust the segment length to the user's own preferred time. In some embodiments, the video encoder (hardware or software based) will optimize the file boundary by delaying the boundary from the nominal boundary position until a period of time with relatively static video and audio, i.e., when there are minimal changes in motion. Skilled persons will appreciate, however, that in some embodiments, such segmentation may be implemented via software or hardware.
Digital video camera 10 is an all-in-one, shoot and store digital video camcorder and is designed to operate in extreme weather conditions and in a hands-free manner. Digital video camera 10 is wearable and designed for rugged environments (water, heat, cold, extreme vibrations), and the Contour 1080P™ system includes application mounts 126 to attach to any person, equipment, or vehicle. The internal components of digital video camera 10 may be silicon treated, coated, or otherwise insulated from the elements, keeping digital video camera 10 operational, no matter the mud, the dirt, the snow, and the rain.
Preferred embodiments of digital video camera 10 are equipped with wireless connection protocol and global navigation and location determination, preferably global positioning system (GPS), technology to provide remote image acquisition control and viewing. The Bluetooth® packet-based open wireless technology standard protocol is used to provide control signals or stream data to digital video camera 10 and to access image content stored on or streaming from digital video camera 10. The GPS technology enables tracking of the location of digital video camera 10 as it records image information. The following describes in detail the implementation of the Bluetooth® protocol and GPS technology in digital video camera 10.
Preferred embodiments of digital video camera 10 permit the mounting of camera housing 22 upside down while retaining the proper orientation of the video images by mechanical or electrical 180° rotation of lens 26. The mechanical rotation is shown in
Common implementations for sliding switches that have long travel entail use of a magnet to pull and hold the switch in its final position or use of a switch mechanism continuously pressed by the user over the full travel distance and provided with a holding mechanism in place in the ON and OFF positions. Digital video carriers 10 is equipped with a slide switch mechanism that solves the problems associated with long travel distance. A scissor spring 408 assists in actuating slidable switch activator 80 over the long travel range between the recording ON and OFF slide setting positions.
Installation of scissor spring 408 in main housing 100 entails placement of U-shaped center portion 420 with its base member 426 and side members 428 against a raised block 450 on a top surface 452 of a printed circuit board (PCB) 454 of GPS assembly 402. The length of base member 426 is chosen to establish a snug fit of raised block 450 within U-shaped center portion 420 to keep scissor spring 408 stationary during sliding motion of switch activator 80. As shown in
The shaping of scissor spring 408 imparts resistance to prevent the initial sliding motion of switch activator 80 in either direction, but in response to user applied pressure overcoming the resistance, switch activator 80 automatically travels to the stopping position without effort by the user. Scissor spring 408 exerts passive resistance to any motion and therefore holds switch activator 80 in the proper position until the user again moves switch activator 80. The shape of scissor spring 408 can be varied based upon, for example, the geometry of switch activator 80, the length of travel, and desired holding force.
The above-described spring solution is uniquely resistant to vibration and is well-suited for a high vibration environment. Scissor spring 408 is an improvement over magnetic sliding switch movements because the former does not introduce magnetic interference that may affect other functions in digital video camera 10. Scissor spring 408 is also an improvement over a double detent implementation because the user is confident switch activator 80 is in the proper position. This spring solution could be expanded to include a combination of springs to provide specialized motion or specific force profiles. This spring design can also control linear or circular motion.
When recording video or taking photographs in a sports application, digital video camera 10 is often mounted in a location that does not permit the user to easily see the camera. Implementing digital video camera 10 with a wireless connection protocol enables remote control of the operation of and remote access to image data stored in digital video camera 10. In preferred embodiments, the integration of Bluetooth® wireless technology in the wearable digital video camera 10 facilitates implementation of several features, including remote control, frame optimization, multi-camera synchronization, remote file access, remote viewing, data acquisition (in combination with GPS capability), and multi-data sources access (in combination with GPS capability).
Implementing Bluetooth® wireless technology in digital video camera 10 enables the user to control it remotely using a telephone, computer, or dedicated controller. This allows digital video camera 10 to remain sleek, with few buttons and no screen. Additionally, a lack of need for access to a screen or controls provides more flexibility in mounting digital video camera 10.
The remote control device (i.e., telephone, computer, dedicated viewer, or other Bluetooth®-enabled device) can access files stored on digital video camera 10 to allow the user to review the content in such files and manage them on the camera. Such access can include file transfer or file playback in the case of video or audio content.
Using a wireless signal transfer, the remote device can access data streaming from digital video camera 10. Such data can include camera status, video, audio, or other data (e.g., GPS data) collected. Standard video can exceed the bandwidth of a Bluetooth® connection. To resolve any quality of service issues, a fast photo mode is used to simulate video. In this case, photographs are taken in succession, then streamed and displayed in sequence to simulate video playback. Firmware in a main processor captures and streams the photographs, and the receiving application is designed to display photographs in quick succession. To be space efficient, the photographs may be stored in a FIFO buffer so that only limited playback is available.
Alternative implementations of a remote viewer include one or more of reduced resolution or frame rate, file sectioning, frame sampling, and Wi-Fi to media server. Reduced resolution or frame rate entails recording video in two formats, high quality and low quality, in which the lower quality file is streamed or played back after the recorded action has taken place. For streaming implementation, wireless connection bandwidth can be monitored to adapt to the available bandwidth the resolution, bit rate, and frame rate on the secondary recording. Additionally, buffering can be used in conjunction with adaptive bit rate control. File sectioning entails breaking a recording into small files and transferring each file upon completion to allow for viewing via a wireless device in near real time. File transfer may be delayed so as to limit interruptions that result from bandwidth limitations. Frame sampling entails real time video frame sampling (e.g., video compression intraframes (I-frames) only). Wi-Fi to media server entails use of Wi-Fi to establish the camera as a media server on selected networks, allowing other devices to read and play content accessed from the device.
The functionality permitted across industry standard interfaces is often limited by the receiving or transmitting device based on its permissions. This means that one device may refuse to permit certain functionality if the other device does not have proper certificates or authentications. For example, the Apple® iPhone and similar products require certain security authentication on data signals transmitted using the Bluetooth® interface. The security requirements on such interfaces vary by product and the manufacturer. Oftentimes the same product is intended to connect with a variety of devices, and it is not desirable to integrate the security component for all possible features or external devices.
In preferred embodiments, the signal path is designed such that the presence of this security integrated circuit is not required for full functionality for such other devices. However, by including a connector in this signal path, a security module can be added by the user after manufacturing to allow connection with such controlled devices. By including such a connector in the signal path, the relevant signal security module may be provided separately for only those applications that require such security authentication. Additionally, in preferred embodiments, the Apple® security card is packaged separately as a self-contained card. The circuit is designed to retain the authentication integrity but to interface with the controlling device through a standard connector.
The use of a data file to identify the Bluetooth® ID of a device allows two devices to pair when neither device has a display screen.
Frame optimization can be accomplished with a remote control device or within digital video camera 10, if it is equipped with a screen and controls. Frame optimization may entail one or both of lighting and color optimization and frame alignment, either manually or automatically.
Automatic lighting and color optimization uses video or photographic analysis in controlling the device.
Use of the many-to-many nature of Bluetooth® wireless technology enables a user to control multiple cameras. Multi-camera control allows for the controller to coordinate the lighting level and color settings on all cameras, provide guides for alignment of camera positions, and synchronize the videos on multiple cameras with synchronous start/stop or synchronous “alignment” on-screen display (OSD) frames or audio sound that can be embedded in the video to facilitate editing and post-processing. Use of wireless connection allows one camera to provide a synchronization signal to another camera so that videos can be synchronized in post-processing. The OSD frames may be stored in advance in the memory of digital video camera 10 and be simply triggered by a frame sync pulse to limit transmission bandwidth requirements and any associated errors or delays. This synchronization may include information such as, for example, video file name and camera identity of the primary camera. To improve accuracy of synchronization timing, the wireless transfer rate can be calibrated by pinging a secondary device and listening for response. To further improve accuracy, this ping/response cycle is repeated multiple times.
A separate remote device can be used to pair two cameras in which neither camera has a screen.
By controlling multiple cameras, the user is able to coordinate shots from different angles and ensure the color and lighting settings are similar to allow for seamless switching in playback. The preferred embodiments could be expanded so that in the event there were multiple devices daisy-chained together, they could use a single authentication. For example, if there were two cameras that were connected via Bluetooth® to a device that required such authentication, the signal from one camera could route through the other to use its security and the intermediary device would be the only device that requires such security provision. This security component may also be able to become a standalone component that is simply inserted into the security path as a pass-through that adds the authentication or approval required only for the receiving device and performs any translation required for the response to be interpreted properly.
Data acquisition and data synchronization in the use of wireless communication, preferably in cooperation with GPS capability, can be accomplished by one of several techniques. When capturing video during an activity, data may be used to better describe the activity as well as used for editing and optimizing either during recording or in post-processing. Typically, these data would be embedded in the video as user data or in the file as a data track (in accordance with MPEG specifications). In a first alternative, the data may be written to a text track in the file. These data are ignored by players unless text display is turned on. Post-processing algorithms extract these data for analysis. Generally, the text track survives editing. In a second alternative, the data may be written to a separate file, and the file name for the data may be written as metadata on the video file so that post-processing applications can properly associate the data with the video. Optimally, the data are synchronized with the video, but they need not be frame synchronized. In the event the data are stored in a separate file, a timestamp could be used to synchronize the video. This marker may be embedded in the data file to tag the file at a single time (e.g., beginning, middle, end, or upon designation by the user), tag the file with every video frame, or tag periodically.
The user wanting to start a recording session taps the Start Record actuator to transmit to Bluetooth®-enabled Cameras 1 and 2 a Start Recording command signal. The flow diagram shows Cameras 1 and 2 recording video data in response to the Start Recording command signal. Bluetooth® wireless module 400 in each of Cameras 1 and 2 is configured to respond to the Start Recording command signal, irrespective of the OFF state of switch activators 80 of Cameras 1 and 2.
The user wanting to complete a recording session taps a Stop Record actuator (not illustrated in
A synchronization calibration sequence 540 performed between Cameras 1 and 2 calibrates transmission delays between them. Camera 1 transmits to Camera 2 a Sync Calibration signal, to which Camera 2 responds by transmitting a Sync Response signal. Camera 1 determines a calibration delay representing the amount of delay from transmission of the Sync Calibration signal to receipt of the Sync Response signal. This process is repeated a number of times until successive measured calibrated delays are within an operational tolerance.
A synchronized video recording process 542 starts upon completion of synchronization calibration sequence 540. Camera 1, operating as the master camera and in response to a user-controlled trigger signal, transmits a Start Recording signal to Camera 2, which responds by starting to record video data. Camera 1 starts to record video data after expiration of the calibrated delay determined by the synchronization calibration sequence 540 to achieve a synchronized start of recording video data by Cameras 1 and 2.
An on-screen display (“OSD”) sync pulse insertion process 544 facilitates video frame synchronization in video and audio post-processing. Camera 1 transmits a Trigger OSD Sync signal to Camera 2 in response to the start of video data recording by Camera 1. Camera 2 responds to the Trigger OSD Sync signal by inserting an OSD Sync pulse overlay in the stream of video frames Camera 2 acquires. After expiration of the calibrated delay determined by synchronization calibration sequence 540, Camera 1 inserts an OSD Sync pulse overlay in the stream of video frames Camera 1 acquires. The time base for computing calibration delay and OSD Sync pulse insertion is preferably provided by a GPS date/time clock available to GPS receiver 458.
A video and audio post-processing procedure 546 entails performing a search of the streams of video frames for the OSD Sync pulses and shifting the timing of the stream of video frames of Camera 2 to match the OSD Sync pulses of Camera 1. The frame center, color, audio volume, and other parameters of the Camera 2 video and audio data are adjusted using the OSD Sync pulse so that the streams of video and audio data can be combined for multi-angle shots, three-dimensional images, or other effects.
Wireless microphone 550 introduces a delay in the Audio 2 Track.
Data measurements performed depend on the type of data acquired. The most appropriate data varies based upon sport or type of motion recorded; therefore, ideally data sensors are tailored to the relevant sport. Additionally, the best location for measuring data is often not the ideal location for mounting a camera.
By using Bluetooth® with its many-to-many connections, multiple data sources can be recorded by the camera. These data sources can be customized to the specific application, for example for automobile racing, data relating to the automobile engine may be captured from on-board diagnostics and transmitted to digital video camera 10, where the data can be embedded in the video stream for later playback. Examples of multiple data sources include streaming data to one or more cameras from one or more data sources (e.g., GPS data from telephone or GPS collection device, and audio data from remote microphone) and storing such data as individual files or embedded in the video file as metadata, audio tracks, or text.
In post-processing, data associated with video content can be used in editing to correct for shade/lighting changes, to correct for video processing errors, and to enhance the story with information about the path taken, location of the video, speed, and other information. Location and time data embedded in video from sources such as GPS can be used to synchronize videos in post-processing generating a three-dimensional video. Speed, vibration, altitude, temperature, date, and location can be combined to determine the likely sport or activity as part of a post-processing suite. The recommendations can be tuned based on data gathered from a large body of videos in which the activity in the video has been identified. Data associated with video content may be used to associate and group videos from one or more users. The groupings may be based on any characteristic such as time, location, speed, and other factors. Videos that intersect in time or location may be linked so that the viewer can transition to a different camera or video when two videos cross in location or time. Additionally, the data can be used to correlate multiple cameras or videos to create multiple view angles for the same location or event. These data may also be used to correlate videos of the same location taken over time to document the changes in that location over extended durations (hours, days, weeks, years).
Multiple “language” tracks on video file can be used to capture different audio sources (including wireless microphone) from the video camera. This allows the user to select from the optimal audio source in post-processing or allows automatic correction for signal errors and synchronization issues. By storing multiple sources, users are post-processing algorithms and may select the most reliable track in the event there is a dropout resulting from signal quality issues caused by use of a wireless device. Additionally, audio may be captured from multiple sources and from different locations to provide different audio information so that the preferred audio may be selected in post-processing. In the event multiple audio tracks are not available, data tracks may be used and the data can be converted into an audio source in post-processing. In the event the wireless audio source cannot be channeled through the audio codec, the raw data can be stored and post-processing can modify these data to convert them to audio. Any delay introduced by the wireless connection can be corrected by synchronizing the wireless audio source to the primary audio source (internal microphone) using the audio waveforms.
The foregoing approach differs from the prior art technique of automatically switching between an internal microphone and an external microphone, where the external microphone is used when it exists and software automatically reverts to the internal microphone when the external microphone signal is unavailable. Automatic switching would, however, mix audio from different locations and not provide a seamless audio experience.
A data processing and calculations module 612 of main processor 500 receives data from GPS receiver 458, camera sensors 614, Bluetooth® wireless module 400 receiving data transmissions from Bluetooth® wireless connection-enabled sources, and a wired data module 614 and delivers these data as Text Track 1, Text Track 2, Text Track 3, Text Track 4, and Text Track 5, respectively.
Text Track 1 contains GPS data such as longitude, latitude, elevation, date/time, and other data available from GPS receiver 458. The date/time information enables associating acquired video and other data, including data on Text Tracks 2-5, to a certain time point in the video data stream. Peripheral computer 570 takes the time-stamped information and displays it by time point. The transmission delay calibration described with reference to
Text Track 2 contains operating parameter data such as video resolution, compression rate, and frame rate information available from camera sensors 614 associated with digital video camera 10.
Text Tracks 3 and 4 contain data acquired from Bluetooth® wireless connection-enabled Data A and Data B transmission sources such as, for example, race car engine sensor data and race car driver heart rate monitor data. These data are typically periodically transmitted to Bluetooth® module 400. Another example of Data A and Data B sources is data sources transmitting data at different transmission rates.
Text Track 5 contains data produced from a text data module (e.g., subtitle generator 602 of
It will be obvious to those having skill in the art that many changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. For example, skilled persons will appreciate that subject matter of any sentence or paragraph can be combined with subject matter of some or all of the other sentences or paragraphs, except where such combinations are mutually exclusive. The scope of the present invention should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims.
14. An integrated, hands-free, portable, viewfinder less point of view digital video camera, comprising:
- a lens;
- a camera housing;
- a battery located within the camera housing;
- an image sensor located within the camera housing, the image sensor capturing light propagating through the lens and producing real time video image data;
- a wireless connection device located within the camera housing and configured to send image content by wireless transmission directly to and receive control signals by wireless transmission directly from a wireless connection-enabled controller; and
- a camera processor located within the camera housing and configured to: receive the video image data directly or indirectly from the image sensor, generate from the video image data, first video image content at a first resolution, communicate the first video image content using the wireless connection device to the wireless connection-enabled controller, receive the control signals from the wireless connection-enabled controller, adjust at least one of a video setting and an audio setting of the video camera prior to recording based at least in part on the control signals, and in response to a record command, cause the first video image content and second video image content at a second resolution to be stored at the video camera, wherein the second video image content is generated from the video image data and the first resolution is lower than the second resolution, and wherein
- the wireless connection-enabled controller comprises executable instructions for execution on a handheld personal portable computing device, wherein when executed, the executable instructions cause the handheld personal portable computing device to: receive the first video image content from the wireless connection device, display at least a portion of the first video image content on a display of the handheld personal portable computing device, display the video setting and the audio setting of the video camera on the display, generate the control signals based at least in part on input received at the handheld personal portable computing device, wherein the input indicates a change to at least one of the video setting and the audio setting, and communicate the control signals to the wireless connection device.
Filed: Sep 25, 2014
Publication Date: Jan 8, 2015
Inventors: Laura O'Donnell (Hermosa Beach, CA), Richard Mander (Bainbridge, WA), Michael Denton (Christchurch), Ben Bodley (Christchurch), Alan Tompkins (Ferny Grove), Keith Gurganus (San Diego, CA), Kelvin P. Barnsdale (Christchurch), Simon Third (Christchurch), Carm Pierce (Stanwood, WA), Carl Perkins (Seattle, WA)
Application Number: 14/496,915
International Classification: H04N 5/232 (20060101); H04N 5/225 (20060101); H04N 5/28 (20060101);