Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Oh Unicode how I love and hate you.

June 20, 2011 3 comments

Unicode is a really great thing. It allows for a wide range of special characters and letters in different languages.

The problem is that is is messy to work with while programming especially when you want to create standardized code.
Anyway, I am working on a Linux terminal picture viewer probably because I’m enjoying using the terminal and sometimes need to see a picture file before copying it or moving it.
This presents a problem for text only terminals I need to view the image, especially if it has come from a digital camera with an odd name.

Here is the result of my tinkering you can see a standard ASCII version and a Unicode version using the braille letters as dithering patterns. Currently it is SFML powered C++. The image is the standard test image, “lena”.

So there you have it, a use for a very odd set of Unicode characters, the braille set.

Christmas ball photography hack WORKING!

June 15, 2011 19 comments

A $20 360 degree panorama solution.

Let me first say NO that pink coat is not mine. This was done at my parents’ house.

I’m very very pleased to day that today I was finally able to accomplish my dream of providing a cheap way for the average person to do special 3D 360 degree panorama. I found that if one simply shoots a spherical object from above, they can capture a whole 360 degrees worth of image data. I used this cheap ( and admittedly crappy Christmas tree ball). To do this I disabled the camera’s flash, set a timer for 10 seconds, and moved my tripod so the ball was in full view. I then stepped back and allowed the ball and camera to do their magic. This is the result, look at all that image data tucked away inside there! The FINAL 360 degree product is at the very bottom if you don’t like to read.

A top down shot of a common Christmas ball.

Now I used GIMP to convert the image from a polar map to a normal rectangle. The result will look squished but we’ll fix that.

Be SURE to crop your image first so the sphere is in the center and the image is square not rectangular.

Now we are ready to begin the magic.


Filters -> Distorts -> Polar Coordinates

Uncheck “To Polar” Your image should unfold into a square.

This is the result.

You can see that we are getting there. Now I went to Image -> Scale Image and scailed the width by a factor of 314 % (This is PI times the height!).

I’m not sure that that is the correct width, readers please correct me if my math is incorrect.

Here is the final result, please keep in mind this is a proof of concept. The Christmas ball had many imperfections in the surface. You can probably get amazing results with one of those half dome safety mirrors like retail stores use and a professional camera. I’m just a simple inventor, this is probably a 15 dollar project if you have the camera already. According to one commenter, my final picture might be out of┬áproportion┬áplease read the comments.

Please readers, feel free to correct, comment, and improve on my methods.

DIY 3D photography… coming up a bit short.

June 15, 2011 2 comments


An ongoing project is currently driving my crazy all because I’m missing one piece to make it work.

The idea is to provide a cheap and acceptable way to do 3D photograph construction and viewing with a single picture.

The idea is as follows:

1. Obtain a large mirror finish ball or hemisphere.

2. Place it on the ground.

3. Take a picture from directly above zooming in to fill the the view of the camera but not cropping the sphere.

4. Crop the image to a square keeping the sphere in the center.

5. Use custom image software that reconstructs the sphere from a polar image to a rectangular one – giving a full 360 degrees of view along the horizon with some acceptable distortion at the top of the image. This will not be as good as the effect constructed from 6 pictures but should give a complete 360 degree panorama from a single shot.

My problem is that I cannot find a cheap solution for a mirrored sphere or hemisphere between 8-18 inches. Currently I’m not working so a 20 dollar or less solution would be best.