Friday, April 16, 2010

Techno Challenge

Two things coming together here: One is that no matter how successful, the media always drops a couple of zeros off their crowd estimates at Tea Party events. The gathering at Searchlight Nevada was described as "dozens", the Tax day gathering here in Denver was described as "hundreds".

Second, my circle of friends includes some very clever technologists, with specialties in about any field you could think of.

So, in the current age of the ubiquitous UAV, why don't we have one or more taking airel pictures of the Tea Party and other events. Accurate head counts are so much easier when you have a picture of all or most of the heads in question. In the times of RC aircraft, digital cameras, and wireless internet, you'd think this would be easy.

Here's your chance to be the first on your block to win the prestigious DMSC Peabody Award for extremely clever thinking.
Wouldn't that look nice hanging on your cubicle wall?


jed said...

I might not be clever, but fortunately in this case, I don't have to be. The world of hobbyist RC aerial vehicles is already replete with camera setups. Of course, it helps if you're already an experienced RC helo pilot, and own one of a size to deal with outdoor flight.

There are also RC helium ships.

The low-tech approach would be a small camera with either a long remote wire, or wireless control, and a long mast, such as those sold for painting, or changing light bulbs in high places.

Billll said...

The tethered airship has a certain appeal in that it's extremely simple, not counting the Helium you need to bring along. The R.C. helos would work but are susceptible to wind, of which we have plenty. Still, it sounds like a fun project.

jdmorse said...

the state patrol's "official" head count was 1500. small uav's are notoriously sensitive to wind and, as you say, we have plenty.

jed said...

small uav's are notoriously sensitive to wind and, as you say, we have plenty.

Especially if any politicians show up.

You can buy a helium balloon party kit at Wal-Mart these days. I assume that if one already has a suitable tank, getting it filled is cheaper. If you're going to do a tethered balloon, then you won't even need wireless for the video camera.

The Fly-Cam is $80 at Hobby Lobby (maybe web sale only?). But that's a full RC setup.

If you have a lightweight laptop, then maybe a USB webcam on a long cable? I don't know, of the top of my head, the length limit for USB-2.