Sunday, June 23, 2013

Robotic Instagram Timelapse Video



As you are probably already aware, Instagram has enabled video uploading. You are limited to 3-15 second clips and can't upload previously recorded videos. The record button in the Instagram app is non-latching, so you have to hold the button down all the while you want to record.  At the end, all of your little clips ( up to 15 seconds ) are stitched together into a video ( with sound please remember ) that you can then add a distinctly Instagram-esque filter to and upload.

Working within these boundaries I have devised a method to make timelapse videos using a servo actuated, simulated finger to press the record button in the Instagram app at somewhat deterministic yet not entirely accurate intervals. Let it be said that the future may hold software solutions for timelapse in instagram, but for now, I am making timelapse videos in Instagram before they are cool?




This project had a couple of interesting things. For one, this was my second time using the Arduino platform for prototyping. I had purchased an Uno R3, LCD shield and prototype shield for an upcoming project, but decided to borrow the hardware for the Instagram robot instead. Although I am not a big fan of the abstraction that Arduino provides I was able to quickly prototype with the equipment I listed above. From concept to build to first timelapse video took all of about 4 hours.




In the above photo you can see values on the screen for sv_in which is the servo angle when the simulated finger is pressing the record button.  The variable for interval is milliseconds until the next record button press.  You can also see a 'P' for pause, in the lower right corner which is toggled  'R' for run when a button is pressed.  The servo " in " position and interval time are adjustable by buttons on the front panel.  I guess now would be an appropriate time to mention that the record button press duration is 150 mS.

At any rate, the other interesting part of this project was the simulated finger for pressing the record button. I used some conductive foam, shipped with IC's jammed into the end of an Exacto knife holder. The blade, of course was removed. The handle of the exacto knife was then electrically tied to the negative supply of the Arduino. This activated the screen quite well, however my first hardware design had the simulated finger " swipe " to come into contact with the screen aka tangentially. The Instagram app did not respond to tangential activation and I had to redesign the servo configuration to allow more perpendicular action.

I will post a video of the results as soon as Youtube snaps out of the mood its currently in.  


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