The Balloon Project

For you only dear reader, here is the highly anticipated description of the balloon project.

Let’s start with a bit of context. It all begins with a man known as Ugo (or sometime Nerochiaro), who heard about a cool event called Nowhere. In a nutshell, Nowhere is a participatory art festival, where attendants are supposed to contribute something to make the event cool. Or at least that’s my understanding of it.

Ugo had an idea for Nowhere: how about we took some pictures of the event from above? And what if, to achieve that, we used a helium-filled balloon?

I guess you understand both the name of the project and of the blog.

Ugo motivated some friends, and we are now a small team studying all the aspects of how to put a balloon in the air, with a camera attached to it. We also try to think of what can be achieved with such a set-up, beyond mere “pictures from above” (time lapse videos? a map of the festival? suggestions are welcome in comments).
Since an image is worth a thousand words, here’s an incredibly beautiful schema by yours truly, explaining the whole idea:Balloon with camera attached, high above ground, anchored with a long piece of string

The whole idea is pretty simple. It is. Until you start investigating about the details. And there are many to study: what balloon should we use? How do we attach the camera? How and when will the camera take pictures? How do we power everything?

Believe me, this is only a small subsets of all the issues we are trying to address. The good news for you, reader, is that it will provide us with a lot of matter to put into words for you to read.

This is an adventure. I think that with the experiments already conducted, we have passed the point of non-return, and we will either succeed …or, well, fail, or be somewhere in between, but I believe that we will have some cool pictures to show in July.

Stay tuned for plenty of gory details of our investigations, encompassing fields such as “simple” mechanics, fluid mechanics, signal processing, computer vision. But expect as well a whole lot of “duct tape science” and MacGyver methods for about anything.

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  1. Pingback: FOSDEM 2012: balloon image co-registration | This Hollow Earth

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