I designed this camera array off something I saw on the "Radar Detector" music video by Darwin Deez. But, after making the camera hat, everyone kept asking if it was a low-fi version of Google Street View. It's more the former than the latter, but people can draw their own interpretations. There's also Chindogu.
Of course you can always just buy (or win) a 360° panorama camera, but it's no where near as eye-catching as this one.
Enough talk, let's make a 360° panorama camera hat!
Step 1: Tools + materials
Step 2: Cut can to size
Next, I scored a cut line around the circumference of the bucket by elevating my hobby knife on a stable platform and rotating the bucket. Working slowly I carefully cut into the bucket until the lower bucket portion was separated from the rest.
Remove any burrs around edge, sand with a fine grit sandpaper if you like.
This bottom portion of the bucket will fit over your head and hold all the cameras, servos and battery assembly.
Step 3: Arrange camera array
Tighten each cable tie partway, then make any adjustments that are necessary to ensure each camera is equally spaced around the bucket ring, then tighten each cable tie to secure the cameras. Make sure you don't cover the lens with the cable tie.
Set aside the camera and frame assembly for now while the electronics are put together.
Step 4: Prepare servos
Most servos will have a 3-wire ribbon cable, this cable enables the servo to interface with a micro controller. However, we want our servos to operate without control circuitry. Luckily removing the controller from inside a servo is easy.
Start by prying open the back of the servo, the first thing you should see will be the controller. Most controllers will have a 3-wire ribbon cable attached to the controller, with wires from the controller to the motor and a potentiometer. Leave the 3-wire ribbon cable and desolder any wires connected to the controller (there should be 2 to the motor and 2 to the potentiometer). This should detach any connection between the controller and the servo, allowing the controller and 3-wire ribbon to be removed as one.
Next, solder new wires directly to the motor. Protect the wires from shorting out by sealing them in heat-shrink tubing. Tuck the soldered connection into the servo housing and snap the back of the servo back on.
Repeat with as many servos as you need for your camera array.
Step 5: Mount servos
Step 6: Wiring
The battery holder was wired up last, along with long leads for the momentary switch (see next step).
Step 7: Wire servo trigger
After all the wiring is complete tuck any slack wires behind the battery holder, then cable tie the battery holder in place. Then, test out your circuit by depressing the momentary switch, all the servo should activate at once.
Step 8: Take some panorama pictures
Depress trigger, wind each camera, move locations, repeat.
You're going to get a lot of stares.
Step 9: Print your panoramas (optional)
I lined up the pictures and used clear tape on the backside of each photo, then joined the two ends together forming a loop of pictures with the images on the inside. After, I put my head inside the ring of pictures to fully experience a 360° view of that location*.
*Looks of amazement when head is immersed in panorama may vary.
Step 10: Results and final thoughts
Some notes to consider for others (and myself for next time):
- Ensure your camera array (head) is parallel to the ground before shooting
- Verify all cameras are operable/wound/aligned before shooting
- Do not rely on camera flash to compensate for terrible indoor lighting
I want to see your creations! Did you make your own version of this project? Share a picture of your own camera hat and you'll get a digital patch and a 3-month Pro Membership to Instructables!