Introducing the Nodal Ninja Tera "powered by PixOrb". Nodal Ninja, in concert with Fanotec®, is proud to announce a new line of fully automated panoramic tripod heads, based off the very successful and popular Peace River Studios PixOrb® products
The Nodal Ninja Tera is an easy-to-use modular automated camera head. Users can now capture single time lapse images to several thousand images in a variety of configurations which can then be stitched to form super high resolution panoramas. Because of NN Tera’s timed single shot capability this also makes for effective for multi-axis video movies, motion time-lapse recording and other automated tasks in the field and in the studio. What sets the NN Tera aside from other camera and video robotics is its unique modular lightweight structural frames which can be adapted to a wide range of single and multiple camera and lens combinations. The modular design will allow for easy upgrade path from one model to the next.
Three winning teams - Fanotec, Nodal Ninja and Peace River Studios collaborate decades of experiences to form a product line unique to the industry.
- Fanotec: ensures highest standards, quality components, precision build, long life and durability.
- Nodal Ninja: ensures customer satisfaction with industry leading support.
- Peace River Studios: ensures proven PixOrb success, continual advancement in research and development using the very latest state of the art design and technologies.
New industrial motion control technology and advanced integrated software that has recently become available is applied in the Nodal Ninja Tera (Tera) machines. Recent mechanical advancements are also being employed.
Tera’s utilize modular lightweight structural frames that can be adapted to a range of camera and lens combinations. Structural composite panel material, carbon fiber tubing, and ‘T’ slotted aluminum components enable accurate photography even with long telephoto lenses. Some key structural components will be ‘3D Printed’ to save weight, cost, and allow for incremental design improvements going forward.
These camera-heads are engineered for the capture of high-resolution stitched panorama images, and are equally effective for multi-axis smooth repeatable video moves, motion time-lapse recording and a number of other automated tasks in the field and in the studio.
An example of PixOrbs panorama capability is a 17 Gig pixel stitched-together image shot by Gerard Maynard at Yosemite National Park is here.
A virtual tour example that was filmed in Rome by Villanova University with their PixOrb is here.
PRS manufactured a number of PixOrbs and sold them to customers internationally. The list includes: Boeing, Sandia National Labs, Microsoft, and additional universities, museums and research labs.
The New Nodal Ninja Automated Heads "powered by PixOrb"
Having gained insights from their immersive Natural History projects as well as receiving feed-back from their customers for specialized equipment, PRS has gone the next step to work closely with Nodal Ninja; experienced and established purveyors of a range of excellent panorama equipment with over 50 dealers in more than 25 countries world-wide.
During the past two years PRS has performed comprehensive R&D for this new product-line through constant productive discourse with Nodal Ninja. The new equipment has evolved with input from prospective customers, consulting engineers and team members.
These new machines are based on industrial robotics technologies that provide excellent registration through the latest motor and controller sets manufactured by Arcus Technology who has developed and perfected their unique equipment and accompanying integrated control software for precise industrial and medical uses.
An incorporation of the most successful aspects of the PixOrb products is the foundation of the Nodal Ninja Tera robotic head.
The frame members are based on modular ‘T Slotted’ aluminum components from Bosch Rexroth that are re-machined with unique double-dovetails to facilitate Acetyl plastic sliding positioning components, which can be adjusted adjacent to linear gauges. Sliding stops allow for breakdown and easy re-assembly if the system is to be shipped or backpacked.
A single tool can be used for making most field adjustments and breakdown.
Mechanical and controller systems are protected by laminated composite aluminum panels made by AluPanel; and are rigid and very lightweight.
Tera’s have refined mechanical components integrating metric timing-belt resolution-amplifying technology using Gates GT2 - 2mm belts that enhance torque and repeatability. The integrated transmissions add only ounces to the overall weight of the systems.
Since lubricants gather dust and grit and only operate within limited temperature ranges, PRS has selected wear resistant industrial plastic bearings by Igus. Additional advantages with Igus bearings are lower cost and lower weight.
The integrated motor and belt-drive transmissions operate independently from the structural frame members. The units come in both left hand and right hand configurations; mirror images of each other. This enables matched pairs to operate opposite one another on either side of the frame, for example in case twice the power is needed to tilt heavy camera/lens packages. Since the clutch mechanisms are also integrated, pre-balancing in addition to pre-positioning is enabled.
Base view of power module
A ‘drag-and-drop’ Arcus software environment enables the machines to operate in stand-alone mode with pre-programmed routines, or tethered to a laptop. On-board Arcus Touch-Screen units enable control through ‘Stand Alone’ routines.
Downloadable software and manuals are an available for the motors and controller and are kept current on the Arcus Technology website.
Lenses and Cameras
Tera’s will allow for high-level photography with the very wide range of lens focal lengths, and yet the machines are easy to transport to distant and remote locations and operate in extreme environments.
The engineering is modular so that photographers can adapt their units to configure for single or multiple cameras. The tilt-axis, generally driven from a single side, and can operate with either a single camera on a one-sided frame, or with a full-sized frame supported by an additional bearing on the opposite side facilitating the mounting of more than one camera and/or long telephoto lenses.
The market for Tera’s includes, but are not limited to, the following:
- General panorama photography all the way up to extremely large arrays
- Environmental and habitat monitoring with baseline recording for change-over-time and base line records. (Comparisons can help guide management decisions).
- Industrial photography of factories, refineries, and container ports.
- Infrastructure photography; for example creating very large images of bridges and buildings for engineers to view and plan maintenance
- Mountain, canyon, cave and remote locations, even under extreme conditions
- Virtual-set and time-lapse imagery for the motion picture industry
- Security and border operations
- Crime-scene photography to reveal high level’s of detail
- Ship and aircraft photospheres to enable planning for re-fitting, training etc.
- National Park, US forest service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other agency record keeping
- Virtual Tour production
- Astronomical and nighttime photography
- Archaeological progress photography, analysis, and record keeping
- Museum and public-space photography
- Texture mapping to be overlaid on LIDAR imagery
- Artistic photography for large prints and computer re-play
Several of the markets in the above list can be further served through the application of third-party Change-Detection software. A prime example of a company who's software powerfully enables environmental monitoring and infrastructure assessment etc. is EXELIS: http://www.exelisvis.com/
Three Tera products in the line are as follows:
A base-level unit to perform basic tasks of camera positioning for panorama photography and will be inexpensive as a starter unit.
MK 2 (First to be manufactured)
A second level machine will have more accessories and capability with encoders on the motors that will keep accurate record of positions etc.
A high-end model that will be ruggedized. It will have Ethernet connection for networking for multiple cameras overlapping coverage of large scenes. Internet connection with remote units etc.
All of the three products have the same basic structure and interchangeable parts. An upgrade path from one level product to next can be provided.
Accessories for all three units will be available for an additional cost.
Electronics and Battery Power
Automated Media Systems and Inspired Energy have been involved in the design of the electronics and battery systems. AMS is skilled in the ‘Design and construction of equipment for expeditionary film and video production and the manufacture of lithium batteries and solar charging systems.”
The Tera robotic camera heads will be manufactured using advanced methods including 3D Printing informed by ‘Finite Element Analyses’ for refining structure to achieve high strength to weight ratios.
Testing and fine-tuning each Tera product prior to shipping will follow after the rapid lean manufacturing of the equipment.
Note: The information set-forth here is subject to change as we are constantly are reviewing improvements from suppliers and closely watching for changes in the mix of industries that make Tera’s possible.