Postmortem and future plans

A project log for PanoBot

360 degree panoramic video on an omnidirectional chasis, controlled in VR.

joe57005joe57005 12/30/2022 at 05:080 Comments

This didn't quite turn out how I had hoped. The robot chasis turned out far better than I expected, but the video leaves too much to be desired. I like the VR view, but the resolution is just plain crap and barely useable. It looks far worse in person than it does in the videos, due to Quest 2's screen recording weirdness. My plan is to keep the chasis, but redo the camera setup. I'm going to ditch the panorama lens. Back when lens-based panorama videos came out, expensive lenses were still cheaper than having more than one camera, and easier to manage. That's not true anymore. Since each esp32cam is only $8.00, and they can only stream at resolutions too low for good panoramas, I'm going to switch to multiple cameras in a circle.

I'll measure the view angle of the cameras and buy enough to get a full 360. I'll have one set up as the webserver and command and control for the others. I may have each camera have its own websocket connection to the webpage.

As to the VR code, that'll stay largely the same, but I can lose the shader. I'll just have the panorama view be multiple cylinder segments (easy to do in A-Frame.js) and crop the textures in-memory using offsets. It'll be way easier.

As to the panorama lens, it won't go to waste. There's a neat navigation algorithm that uses single-pixel height panoramas and it will very likely fit in the RAM of an ESP32. And I've been itching to give my roomba a lobotomy.