An heliostat is made of:
- 2 motors
- 1 electronic board
- 1 light sensor
- some mechanics
- a mirror
What if could have 4 out of these 5 needed ingredients ready out-of-the-box, without need for mounting and calibrating, at a very low cost?
It's what would be possible if we'd just apply a mirror to... an ipcam!
A basic PTZ IpCam costs 40$ and it can be remotely controlled by sending to it simple URLs. And it "replies" by images.
So, turning a PTZ IPCam into an heliostat is just a matter of adding a mirror, writing a software to process the image and moving the camera depending on where the sun is in the image.
I'll give it a try, but if in the meantime anybody wants to try it too, I found a couple of interesting links; I'll not post them as this is my first post and this could be interpreted as spam, so you can try looking for "Hack a 30 WiFi Pan Tilt Camera Video Audio
n" and "Using camera with processing.js
" to find useful tips.
I was not able to find a command to get from camera its position, so in case the sun is totally out of the image, a position reset is required: to do that, an initial camera position must be stored in one of the available camera memory locations, and when the sun is off, camera must be put in that position and then moved step by step until sun is detected.
Once the sun angle is known, it's jusy a matter of trigonometry to properly position the camera/mirror.
Of course the mirror must be mounted on the camera in such a way that while it's reflecting light to proper place, sun remains inside camera field of view (more trigonometry...).
I also suggest covering camera objective by a darkening shield to avoid burning the CMOS sensor.
I wonder if anybody ever tried my idea already, or if I must start it from scratch... but I hope that at least trig calculations and formulas are already available somewhere! Any clue?