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Novice needs help with crazy project

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by jerry, Mar 17, 2007.

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  1. jerry

    jerry Guest

    Gurus,

    I need your help...

    I am an amateur triathlete and I'm getting ready for the start of the
    triathlon season and I had this problem last year that I'm trying to
    solve.

    The problem is that during an open-water triathlon swim I need to skip
    a stroke every so often to lift my head out of the water and site the
    next turn buoy. I usually find myself off course by a few yards and
    need to make corrections. This costs me time from being off course
    and from skipping a stroke. So, I had this idea to take apart an old
    digital camera or picture phone and mount the camera part to the back
    of my head and attach the LCD part in front of my goggles.

    Sound crazy? I did a Google search and found that someone has
    patented the same idea...

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/patog/week25/OG/html/1307-3/US07062796-20060620.html

    The thing is, as far as I can tell it's never been built, and I need
    your help to build it.

    I took apart a digital camera and was able to power it up and get an
    image on the LCD, but the LCD is connected to the camera by what looks
    like a proprietary 24 wire ribbon cable and connector that I would
    need to build an extension to. Any ideas if that is possible? It
    would need to be about 15"-20" long to go from the back of my head to
    the front of my goggles. The ribbon is about 1" now. Do you think
    the picture quality would get much worse at 15"?

    Another issue is that the camera has a lot of extra stuff on it that I
    don't need. Do you think there is a way to trim it down to just the
    ccd, lcd, a battery and a switch? Do you think a phone would be a
    better starting point? I took apart a broken camera phone and I was
    able to separate the pieces - but it has the same issue - a very thin
    proprietary ribbon cable.

    Any other ideas? Am I crazy?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    jerry <>

    p.s. please respond to my e-mail and the group.
     
  2. John Barrett

    John Barrett Guest

    have you considered one of those wrist watch TVs with an NTSC input, and one
    of those super-mini security cams ??

    might be easier to waterproof integrated units like that compared to a
    custom setup like you described, and completely eliminates custom connectors
    from the problem !!
     
  3. jim menning

    jim menning Guest

    Will such a device be illegal in competition?
     
  4. Jack

    Jack Guest

    You must have a pretty big head if it takes 15" to get from to the back to
    one eye.
    But seriously I think that you could make the thing work without lengthening
    the cable.
    You don't really need to mount it on the back of your head because you don't
    need to see ahead all of the time, just once in a while. The real issue is
    that you need the camera to point up instead of forward like your eyes.

    So you could mount the camera on the side of your goggles (at the temple)
    pointing up with the screen on front of the lens of one eye and a lens on
    the inside of the goggles to allow you to focus that close. Each time you
    take a breath the camera will be at the highest point on your head offering
    the best view forward. You would probably have to swim with your head
    rotated slightly to avoid the drag that immersing the camera would add. Pot
    the whole thing up solid with bathtub calk for waterproofing and you're good
    to go until the battery runs down.
     
  5. jerry

    jerry Guest

    Not yet!
     
  6. jerry

    jerry Guest

    Yeah, the cameras look small enough, but the receivers would be to
    large to mount infront of my face.
     
  7. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Your major problem is your swimming technique. When do you breathe?
    How much effort does it take to glance up at the bouy while you're
    taking a breath? Or are we talking snorkel here?

    Good Luck!
    Rich
     
  8. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    The ribbon cable is a standard in the electronics industry and
    different lengths are available; did not look to see if 15 inch length
    available.
    THe worst problem is reliably sealing all of the electronics from
    water and moisture.
     
  9. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Doesn't bathtub caulk use acetic acid to cure, like the original
    silicone RTV?
    If so, *do* *NOT* use that crap; it will corrode the electronics!
     
  10. Use a waterproof GPS with earphone. My GPS is much too old to guess about
    how to get the voice to direct you around way points. Or maybe the display
    could be separated. Brings up the question of how/where are you going to put
    the display where it can be seen/focused on while swimming. Get bonus points
    for making the antenna look like a shark fin.

    Crazy ideas........easy, making them work...........priceless.
     
  11. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

     
  12. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    Illegal to sell it, or to profit by using it. But building one for fun?
    Don't think so.

    Cheers,

    Phil Hobbs
     
  13. ****************************************************************

    Just seen the Navy training dolphins, so maybe they can lend you one
    home trained orka as a guide submarine. The bicycle stretch should be a
    sight to behold;^))

    HTH

    Have fun

    Stanislaw.
     
  14. From the 'keep it simple' school of design: Consider something like a
    periscope. Optics only, no electronics.
     
  15. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    Greetings Jerry,
    I imagine that you've already considered the effect of the extra drag
    from the camera and display on your lap time compared to being off
    course and correcting. And since you have determined that the
    camera/display assembly will shorten lap times by keeping you on
    course then maybe the best camera to hack would be one of the cheap
    disposable digital cameras for sale at drugstores and similar places.
    These cameras will certainly have as few parts as possible, and may
    also be the lightest once the case is ditched. There are some cameras
    with fold out displays that may have cables with fewer conductors in
    order to make the swivel work. Have you thought about how well you can
    focus on a display only a 1/2 inch or so away from your eyeball?
    There may still be available glasses for video games that had tiny
    displays in them with optics that made the image appear to be some
    distance away. It could be that they used a standard video format,
    like NTSC for example. If so then you could hack these and use a
    cheap, tiny CMOS camera with lens and you would only need three wires.
    When swimming do you get off course because of currents in the water?
    Or because you pull to one side? If it's the latter maybe you could
    use a timer that would beep at the rate necessary to add extra strokes
    on one side or the other to train you to keep swimming straight.
    Good luck,
    ERS
     
  16. There was significant debate about this point ~10 years ago with regards to
    cryptography. A good archive of it is at:
    http://www.ciphersbyritter.com/NEWS3/PATENT.HTM
    Unless "for fun" you mean "idle curiosity" then you're out of luck ... Of
    course, if noone knows you made something patent-infringing you're not going
    to get done over for doing so.
     
  17. krw

    krw Guest

    Building one for education (to learn the art being taught in the
    patent) is fine. Building one to avoid paying for a widget? Very
    doubtful, but who is going to come after you?
     
  18. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  19. krw

    krw Guest

  20. MassiveProng

    MassiveProng Guest


    Not without permission dumbass.
     
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