Feeds

LOHAN spaceplane's budget minicam punches well above its weight

Pleasant imaging surprise from 'Punch' test flight

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Pics + vids Watch Video

They say good things come in small packages, and that's certainly true of the impressively titled "DBcam Hi-Resolution Micro Action Sports Video Camera", which soared heavenwards for a quick test during the recent Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch and Judy" test flights.

It was the first time we'd had the chance to get this miniature member of our mighty imaging arsenal aloft, and to be honest, we weren't expecting much from the 40 quid camera:

The DBcam Hi-Resolution Micro Action Sports Video Camera

The claimed battery life of the DBcam is 2.5hrs in recording mode. We suspected that might be more like 20 minutes, especially when the cold set in. Here's the mounting position atop the Punch payload – a pretty chilly place to be in the stratosphere:

The DBcam mount and case on top of the Punch payload box

However, as the above vid shows, the camera battled gamely on for about an hour, before apparently giving up the ghost. It hadn't, however, and came back to life when the payload was on the ground, recording another 40 minutes or so of close-up grass, while we rushed to the landing location.

This was probably due to our rather uncharitable attitude to the camera. In the complete expectation of failure, we stuck in a really cheapo SD card, and since the camera will periodically save footage to the card (every 60 minutes, according to the instructions), the hiatus may have had something to do with that. Similarly, the occasional jitters in the video suggest an SD card deficiency.

At 640 by 480 pixels, the footage is somewhat below the modern definition of "Hi-Resolution". Here are some stills from the flight showing how it performs (click on the images for full-res versions):

Montage of stills from the DBcam on the test flight

Montage of stills from the DBcam on the Punch test flight

Well, it's hardly Earth-shattering stuff, but the DBcam's surprising battery life under duress has convinced us it'll be ideal for backing up our two GoPros, which will be clamped to the fantastical flying truss, the better to capture rocket-powered spaceplane launches. It weighs a mere 63g in its case, so we may even get another couple to capture the explosive action from multiple angles.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.