Computer Science Project: Automated Follow Spot

Hi all! 

This is my first post on instructables. I've been using this website for years to facilitate many projects, however this is the first time I'll actually be posting any questions of my own on the forums! Exciting!

I'll cut to the chase, for my computer science A - Level I am required to complete a programming project, complex enough to get me a good grade, but feasible enough to actually complete! I decided to take a more practical approach and have arrived at the decision to make a robot of some kind. As I'm heavily involved with the drama department in the school I wanted to create something that could also help them.

I decided upon an automated device that can use some form of trilateration to determine the position of a person on stage and then position a light to light them up. For those who have more experience in the world of technical theatre, I'm talking about an Automated follow spot. For those who don't here is a link to a wiki page.
   The premise being that a person normally has to control a follow spot, pointing it at the person (or people) on stage, to light them up. An issue we have is that sometimes we don't have enough stage hands to operate the follow spots, which means they're left by the wayside. My idea will negate the need to have a human operator and should simply follow the person around the stage.

The main idea at the moment is to use a single long range bluetooth transmitter, attached to a wristband (which would be worn by the actor/actress) and have three long range receivers, which in conjunction can trilaterate the position of the actor/actress and position the light to illuminate them.

I have a couple of  questions:

1. Firstly, is this feasible? This is a project that I really want to see through to fruition, especially as it will count towards my final A-level. For someone of my level of knowledge/experience - is this possible?
2. What would be the best method for transmitting the radio signal? Bluetooth sprung to mind instantly, but is this the best option? I know there might be potential pitfalls in that a theatre is full of metal items and interfering signals that could disrupt this, so are there any better alternatives?

I know there are only two questions for now, but I've only just started the design of the project. I'm sure when I get seriously into it I'll have many many more, but I trust that the good people of instructables will be able to provide some help!

Thanks again,

Eliot C-Hill


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EliotC2 (author) 8 months ago

Whoops! I forgot to add the link! Here it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotlight_(theatre_lighting)

Kiteman8 months ago

I'd start by looking at autonomous sentry turret projects, like these;

https://www.instructables.com/howto/autonomous+sen...

EliotC2 (author)  Kiteman8 months ago

After having a look I'm not sure if this is what I'm looking for...

It seems that most of these projects use lasers, meaning their view is very linear. For my project I want to be able to track, and determine the position of, something in a semi-large area.

Kiteman EliotC28 months ago

I think some of them use video-tracking, which may be what you need.

EliotC2 (author)  Kiteman8 months ago

Thank you! I'll start there :)

Toga_Dan8 months ago

there is a camera on the market which follows a subject. I don't know how. perhaps learning how this works will give you ideas. infrared? ultraviolet? radio frequency? I don't know.research and share what you learn.