Saturday, May 9, 2009

The High Speed Liquid Observation Platform - V2.0

As you know from the previous posting, I solved the problem of getting enough light to do high speed videography using a new LED light ring that just became available.

It then occurred to me that this new lighting form-factor would allow me to radically simplify the experimental platform I had previously built. In the previous design, I used a rectangular cage because I was expecting to have to mount linear light strips to the device. However, the light ring mounts directly to the camera itself, which means that the platform now only has to perform two functions:

1) Allow me to easily point the camera at what I want to record.

2) Collect the water globes at the end of each Zero-G cycle.

This permits a much more elegant design, as follows:

Basically, the new device is a pistol-grip for the camera, with an extension that holds an open Zip-Lock bag (optionally with a diaper in the bottom to absorb water). The grip is made out of two short sections of aluminum t-slot, and the ring that holds the bag is made out of thin, flexible UHMW plastic, with some velcro to hold the bag in place. Everything is wrapped in adhesive-backed foam.

Another nice touch in this design is that the far edge of the collection bag ring is a visual reference that can be used to keep the camera the correct distance away from the water globes; all I have to do is prefocus the camera to the correct distance and everything will work out just fine.

It isn't easy to see but the camera is actually mounted slightly to the rear of the pistol grip, which improves the balance a bit.

One thing I'd really like to do is get a prototype of the Zero-G Coffee Cup and test it out. But first I have to get one, and then I have to bamboozle the Zero-G folks into letting me try it. Hey Starbucks, can I get a grant for Zero-G Latte Research?