USB Button & Webcam Mirror

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USB Button & Webcam Mirror

Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:18 am

I'm working on a project that needs two pieces of tech I haven't nailed down yet. Hopefully the hivemind can help.

I need a solidly buildt, illuminated USB button that, when pressed, yields a definable keypress to the computer to which it is connected. I also need some free webcam software that allows you to enable a mirror mode which can be paused and unpaused by hitting a key.

I'm off to start in on the legwork on my own, but sometimes many minds are faster than but one.


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Postby phil » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:03 am

I suspect you'll get more and better answers with a description of your project rather than the specifics you think you're looking for. The hivemind works best on big pictures, not details.
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Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:18 am

phil wrote:I suspect you'll get more and better answers with a description of your project rather than the specifics you think you're looking for. The hivemind works best on big pictures, not details.


This is a project I've been working on versions of for years now, and I'm fairly confident I've got the rest of it nailed down. It's a self-portrait studio with a back projected image piped from a webcam. People will need to pause the image in order to trace their self-portrait.

I don't suppose you've got any suggestions aside from how better to phrase my question? "You think you're looking for" comes across as a bit condescending, though I'm sure your intentions are good.

Edit: I realize the difference in our post count suggests more respect due in my reply and I apologize for the snarkiness.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:41 am

Yes, Phil is well-respected here.

Your project idea. So, someone walks into a booth and sees their picture on a screen (back projected? mirror mode?) and they hit this "USB button" to take a snapshot so they can trace it?

Sounds pretty technical.
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Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:43 am

That's pretty much the idea. It's back projected onto a sheet of plexiglass over which paper has been pulled.

What I don't have a clear line on is the software and the physical UI.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:54 am

When you use a technical abbreviation like UI it suggests that you already have technical details sorted out.

You need a button of some sort to send a signal to the computer.

Try this thread as well:
viewtopic.php?t=23269&highlight=tech
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Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:14 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:When you use a technical abbreviation like UI it suggests that you already have technical details sorted out.

You need a button of some sort to send a signal to the computer.

Try this thread as well:
viewtopic.php?t=23269&highlight=tech



Yep, "a solidly built, illuminated USB button that, when pressed, yields a definable keypress to the computer to which it is connected."

Thanks for pointing me in that direction, I'll see if anyone there has ideas.

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Postby phil » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:07 pm

I'm entitled to no respect whatsoever. :->

If Quidam requires USB, he could use any button, connected to an Arduino for example which would loop watching for a button press, then upon a press, send a defined signal to the computer via USB. I think all current Arduino boards have a USB connection built in.

Bluetooth or Xbee/Zigbee could also be used if wireless were preferred.

By using an Arduino as the USB (or wireless) interface, the only limit to a solidly-built, illuminated button is Quidam's creativity.

For webcam software, an OS would be nice to know information. Linux? OS X?

Aside from the concept of pausing, I'd suggest looking for software that provides image capture or snapshot capabilities, since that's what you're going to be showing on your screen. The button press triggers capturing a still image from a frame.
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Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:26 pm

phil wrote:Aside from the concept of pausing, I'd suggest looking for software that provides image capture or snapshot capabilities, since that's what you're going to be showing on your screen. The button press triggers capturing a still image from a frame.


I'm going to be using an old notebook with Windows XP on it. I want the image to be an animated reflection that gets paused, so it's easier for people to get the pose they're looking for.

Arduino is a bit more low-level than I was hoping for. I thought there might be out-of-the-box components that fit the bill. If I need to dig deeper, I will, but I'd rather save time if I can.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:32 pm

Quidam wrote:
phil wrote:Aside from the concept of pausing, I'd suggest looking for software that provides image capture or snapshot capabilities, since that's what you're going to be showing on your screen. The button press triggers capturing a still image from a frame.


I'm going to be using an old notebook with Windows XP on it. I want the image to be an animated reflection that gets paused, so it's easier for people to get the pose they're looking for.

Arduino is a bit more low-level than I was hoping for. I thought there might be out-of-the-box components that fit the bill. If I need to dig deeper, I will, but I'd rather save time if I can.


How about... a mouse?? :)
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Postby Quidam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:36 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote:How about... a mouse?? :)


That actually could work if I can't find a better solution. It comes with its own problems, but most of the obvious ones have equally obvious lines to workarounds. It'd be cool it if were a big lit red button, but I can quite easily surround it with a ring of red leds instead.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious, as sometimes it is thoughtlessly overlooked.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:12 pm

Quidam wrote:
mudpuppy000 wrote:How about... a mouse?? :)


That actually could work if I can't find a better solution. It comes with its own problems, but most of the obvious ones have equally obvious lines to workarounds. It'd be cool it if were a big lit red button, but I can quite easily surround it with a ring of red leds instead.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious, as sometimes it is thoughtlessly overlooked.


You could easily hack up a cheap mouse and run the button wires to something more aesthetically pleasing. :)
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Postby phil » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:30 pm

> Thanks for pointing out the obvious, as sometimes it is
> thoughtlessly overlooked.

quod erat demonstrandum
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Postby BBadger » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:05 pm

Short of hacking a keyboard or using serial input, you'll probably want to hack an old Logitech mouse if only so you can use the software to map the button to a keystroke. Another thing you could do if you have a booth, is to stick a real keyboard in the booth and just have the "button" above hit the spacebar when hit.

I would really go the Arduino route, because you can use much better looking buttons like a big Dome button. Coding is for a button is very simple and easy to use with Processing (mentioned below). Plus, you can have feedback, such as a change in the button's color or lighting indicate the state of the screen freeze.

For your webcam software, try using Processing.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:22 pm

<yawn>

http://www.delcomproducts.com/products_USBCtrls.asp


Guess what I googled? USB red input button

For frick's sake people, at least try.
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Postby Quidam » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:39 pm

Lord Of Ruin wrote:<yawn>

http://www.delcomproducts.com/products_USBCtrls.asp


Guess what I googled? USB red input button

For frick's sake people, at least try.


Thank you, Lord Of Ruin, that is exactly what I'm looking for. I did try a few stabs at Google, but somehow neglected to think of adding the term 'input'. Thanks again. I cheerfully accept snark when it comes with results.


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Postby gyre » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:55 pm

If you don't find what you want, the buttons you're thinking of are industrial and indestructable.
You would have to adapt the usb function I imagine.


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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:35 pm

Quidam wrote:
Lord Of Ruin wrote:<yawn>

http://www.delcomproducts.com/products_USBCtrls.asp


Guess what I googled? USB red input button

For frick's sake people, at least try.


Thank you, Lord Of Ruin, that is exactly what I'm looking for. I did try a few stabs at Google, but somehow neglected to think of adding the term 'input'. Thanks again. I cheerfully accept snark when it comes with results.


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I know it's expensive, but you want to consider getting the industrial one on that page if it's sealed. I believe it's hostile environment ready.

I operate a kiosk with keyboard 24/7 outdoors on the playa each year and I'm telliing you that a normal one will last a day or two out in the open, tops.
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