Feeds

LOHAN spaceplane's budget minicam punches well above its weight

Pleasant imaging surprise from 'Punch' test flight

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?