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Integrating digital stereo cameras with Mars Pathfinder technology for 3D regional mapping underwater

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9 Author(s)
Weast, A.B. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Santa Clara Univ., CA, USA ; Ota, J.M. ; Kitts, C.A. ; Bulich, C.A.
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In August 1998, Santa Clara University students joined NASA and NOAA researchers in an archeological expedition to the Arctic Ocean. Titled “The Jeremy Project” after one of the student researchers, the major technology goal of this voyage was to test the Mars Pathfinder's three-dimensional mapping technology, developed by the NASA Ames Intelligent Mechanisms Group, on an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The team learned that there are problems inherent with using this technology on such a vehicle, including the attenuation of the high frequency signals though the 500-foot tether and an unstable camera synchronization from the NTSC cameras. In discussions with NASA and Santa Clara University engineers aboard the U.S.C.G. Polar Star, the use of commercial-off-the shelf digital cameras to bypass the problems in transmitting the analog signal through a tether connecting the ROV and the control console was proposed. In addition to the transmission problems, the baseline and toe-in of the cameras were not known with sufficient accuracy. This inhibited the ability of the mapping technology to correlate the images correctly. During the fail and winter of 1998, Triton, the test platform for this technology, was constructed through the Santa Clara Remote Extreme Environment Mechanisms Lab at Santa Clara University. This paper covers the design and construction of Triton by a group of seven undergraduate engineering students. Additionally, this paper discusses the integration and design of the digital stereo camera system from both a mechanical and electrical engineering standpoint. From a mechanical standpoint, this technology requires the design of a mounting system that will ensure accuracy in the processing of the stereo images. In addition, it must also offer flexibility in a variety of conditions. From an electronics point of view, the technology requires the solution of the problems encountered such as signal and synchronization loss during the Arctic expedition

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Aerospace Conference, 1999. Proceedings. 1999 IEEE  (Volume:5 )

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