Mai
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UFO detector?

Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:45 pm

Recently, I saw a flying saucer and wanted to build a device to detect and film them.
I can appreciate your skepticism, but I am not here to argue the existence or non-existence of these crafts.
I ordered 3 RPI2 and a PI NOR and wanted to pick the forum to see if there are any open source software that has already been started. I could always re-invent the wheel and start from scratch and write an opencv program that detects motion and even tracks it while filming or take snap shots. or use a magnetometer and start filming as soon as it's triggered.
But, why do that if some one else has done something similar?
I am new to RPI, but have done many hardware and software designs using the PIC18 and hitech c cross-compiler.
First, I have to learn Linux again. Learned it in the early 90's but have forgotten most of it and it was at the beginning of Linux and I am sure, it has come a long way since then.
I have talked to a few farmers out of town (away from city lights), and found a few who've agreed to allow me access to their field to place and retrieve my devices.
It will be solar powered. I have the 20 watts solar panels and "D" NiMH batteries from robots projects of yesteryears and the batteries all still in excellent condition. Can build 3 with the stuff I have. So, why not?
Pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
~Mai

W. H. Heydt
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Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: UFO detector?

Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:56 pm

Sounds like you saw more of an "IFO", since you've identified it.

Heater
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Re: UFO detector?

Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:35 pm

Mai,
Recently, I saw a flying saucer ...
Are you sure? If so it's no longer a UFO.

Perhaps you can tell us the properties of such a craft? Size, shape, colour, brightness, distance, speed and so on. That would make it much easier for us to advise as to how to detect them.

Whatever you end up doing with the Pi one thing is for sure, first you have to become familiar with Linux. There is plenty of advice about that all around this forum and elsewhere on the net.

When you have done that get back to us with the answers to the questions above and we will proceed.

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DougieLawson
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:27 am

Here's a bit of python that will detect UFOs

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/python
import random
while True:
 if (random.random() == 0.557661540494):
   print "UFO detected"
Microprocessor, Raspberry Pi & Arduino Hacker
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joan
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:40 am

DougieLawson wrote:Here's a bit of python that will detect UFOs

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/python
import random
while True:
 if (random.random() == 0.557661540494):
   print "UFO detected"
The advantage of using the above code is you only have to tweak the constant and message and it will also detect ghosts, poltergeists, gremlins, and the chances of having a heart attack before 40.

Mennims
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:51 am

Okay. Wow, nice burn there from DougieLawson! :mrgreen:

Mennims
Posts: 105
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:54 am

Funny how these things only happen in Texas and it's always the farmers that are sure about them xD. The ones on moonshine of course. You do know even a plane flying across there would have lights, or a helicopter. Just because you see an aircraft in Texas (or wherever you are) doesn't mean it's a UFO.

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rpdom
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:18 am

Ok, ignoring whether UFOs exist or not, you could make a start by looking at "motion" (sudo apt-get update &&sudo apt-get install motion). It is a package that will work with the v4l driver for the Pi camera and detects motion (defined by limits in the config file(s)) and can take stills and videos.

I don't know how well it works with the Pi camera, as I haven't got one, but with a plain USB camera I could record more than one frame a second which should be enough to analyse what has been spotted. That was on a Pi model B. The 2B should be able to handle much better than that.

Anyway, read up on "motion" and see what it can do for you.
http://motion.sf.net

Heater
Posts: 8887
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:26 am

Pretty much everything I see moving in the sky is an Unidentified Flying Object. I can guess something is a plane or helicopter, but what type exactly? I'm hopeless at identifying birds unless they are the obvious flock of geese. And who can name all the different types of cloud formations?

One that I was sure of was the Goodyear airship that cruised over our house once :)

Now, thinking about all those things, given a Pi and a camera I would imagine it's pretty hard to get it to identify anything. Or even see it very well in the first place.

Do they have crop circles in Texas? That would be a sure sign of something weird going on. :)
Last edited by Heater on Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mai
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:37 am

rpdom wrote:Ok, ignoring whether UFOs exist or not, you could make a start by looking at "motion" (sudo apt-get update &&sudo apt-get install motion). It is a package that will work with the v4l driver for the Pi camera and detects motion (defined by limits in the config file(s)) and can take stills and videos.

I don't know how well it works with the Pi camera, as I haven't got one, but with a plain USB camera I could record more than one frame a second which should be enough to analyse what has been spotted. That was on a Pi model B. The 2B should be able to handle much better than that.

Anyway, read up on "motion" and see what it can do for you.
http://motion.sf.net
OK. Thanks. That's what I was looking for. I will study the code and see how they do it.
Do you happen to know if the pi2 can control 2 R/C servos for pan and tilt? If so, would it jitter if the cpu is busy? -or- should I use a dedicated serial R/C controller I have?

Heater
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:59 pm

As far as I can tell you can drive a servo with PWM quite satisfactorily using a kernel module provided by adafruit: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-ra ... nel-module

How many servos that will drive I do not know.

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allfox
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:09 pm

Recently, I got a SDR dongle (software defined radio). I was told it is able to receive signal from commercial planes passing by. I'm still working on it.

Maybe you should try one either to make sure it's not a Boring 737?

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joan
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:20 pm

Heater wrote:As far as I can tell you can drive a servo with PWM quite satisfactorily using a kernel module provided by adafruit: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-ra ... nel-module

How many servos that will drive I do not know.
Occidentalis was probably deprecated before it was released.

pigpio, servoblaster, etc. can drive as many servos as you can find gpios.

Heater
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:21 pm

That's not going to work.

Let's say there is this giant glimmering silver machine hanging, as if by magic, over a new crop circle in your field. Having snatched a couple of your farm hands it silently scoots off at an incredible speed.

Meanwhile, your system reports it as that boring 737 that just happens to be passing over at the time.

No, you are just going to have to watch every minute of video 24/7 to be sure.

Heater
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:24 pm

I have no idea about Occidentalis. Not sure I have even heard of it before. But the adafruit page claims that the same PWM driver is usable in Raspbian.

But still, perhaps your suggestions are a better way to go if they have more up to date support.

groovmuffn
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:30 pm

Heater wrote:That's not going to work.

Let's say there is this giant glimmering silver machine hanging, as if by magic, over a new crop circle in your field. Having snatched a couple of your farm hands it silently scoots off at an incredible speed.

Meanwhile, your system reports it as that boring 737 that just happens to be passing over at the time.

No, you are just going to have to watch every minute of video 24/7 to be sure.
Actually if you just set up some conditionals (OpenCV) you can rule out such steady, slower movements evinced by a 737 flying overhead and focus instead on the frame-to-frame threshold that could catch a quicker moving UFO (and perhaps the occasional insect passing by closer to cam)

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allfox
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Location: Guang Dong, China

Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:42 pm

OK, it's a Boeing 737... not boring.

I think camera could just catch up everything which moves. And a flight record could help OP to exam those films.

And I think use a single camera with some kind of "track" ability is not that good. How about get more camera shooting at more angle?

We are talking something "undefined" here, so get more sensors~ Motion, radio, light, sound. And put them at multiple spots. So that maybe we could meet that 0.557661540494.

Mai
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:03 pm

joan wrote:
Heater wrote:As far as I can tell you can drive a servo with PWM quite satisfactorily using a kernel module provided by adafruit: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-ra ... nel-module

How many servos that will drive I do not know.
Occidentalis was probably deprecated before it was released.

pigpio, servoblaster, etc. can drive as many servos as you can find gpios.
Yes. Thanks. Apparently, the Servoblaster is not compatible with RPI2, but I think the pigpio would work. If the CPU is too busy with other tasks that produce jitter, I'll move the servos on to my servo controller.

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joan
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:09 pm

Mai wrote: ...
Yes. Thanks. Apparently, the Servoblaster is not compatible with RPI2, but I think the pigpio would work. If the CPU is too busy with other tasks that produce jitter, I'll move the servos on to my servo controller.
There is an updated Pi2 version of servoblaster linked to from the author (tag rgh on this site). It's just that the github version has not been updated.

Mai
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:12 pm

joan wrote:
Mai wrote: ...
Yes. Thanks. Apparently, the Servoblaster is not compatible with RPI2, but I think the pigpio would work. If the CPU is too busy with other tasks that produce jitter, I'll move the servos on to my servo controller.
There is an updated Pi2 version of servoblaster linked to from the author (tag rgh on this site). It's just that the github version has not been updated.
Which would you use?

marked
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:12 pm

allfox wrote:Recently, I got a SDR dongle (software defined radio). I was told it is able to receive signal from commercial planes passing by. I'm still working on it.

Maybe you should try one either to make sure it's not a Boring 737?
ADS-B (Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast) is what you are interested in. There are various providers of flight information that feedback the results of users adssb reception. Flightradar24, and flightaware for example. The problem is that they don't provide to the second accuracy, nor do they track military flights, nor other "unidentified" such as gliders, microlights, hot-air balloons, etc.

and just to make it Pi relevant - http://uk.flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build

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joan
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:20 pm

Mai wrote:
joan wrote:
Mai wrote: ...
Yes. Thanks. Apparently, the Servoblaster is not compatible with RPI2, but I think the pigpio would work. If the CPU is too busy with other tasks that produce jitter, I'll move the servos on to my servo controller.
There is an updated Pi2 version of servoblaster linked to from the author (tag rgh on this site). It's just that the github version has not been updated.
Which would you use?
If all you wanted to do was control servos I would probably use servoblaster if I were you. If you want to do other things with the gpios as well as drive servos I'd use pigpio. However I'm the author of pigpio so I am biased.

ame
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Location: Korea

Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:51 pm

How do you know that a UFO is likely to appear within the field of view of your camera?

The sky is pretty big, and you can only watch a small part of it.

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DougieLawson
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:22 pm

ame wrote:How do you know that a UFO is likely to appear within the field of view of your camera?

The sky is pretty big, and you can only watch a small part of it.
You can use my random python program to help predict when the UFO is overhead.

I've got another program that looks for a well defined IFO flying at 27600km/h (17,100 miles/hour) about 400 km up.

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/python
import ephem
import datetime

iss = [ "ISS (ZARYA)",
"1 25544U 98067A   15156.50838088  .00016717  00000-0  10270-3 0  9005",
"2 25544  51.6393 142.3529 0004705  22.0910 338.0445 15.55274795 26224"]

observer = ephem.Observer()
# Change these values to your local LAT (+ve for N, -ve for S) and LONG (+ve for E, -ve for W)
observer.lat = '51.4778'   # That's Greenwich 
observer.long = '0.0' # On the prime meridian 

observer.elevation = 112 # adjust for your elevation
observer.pressure = 1013.25 # standard pressure == 29.92 inches of Hg
observer.horizon = '-0:34' # That's for civil twilight.

observer.date = datetime.datetime.utcnow()

sat = ephem.readtle(iss[0], iss[1], iss[2])
sat.compute()
tr, azr, tt, altt, ts, azs = observer.next_pass(sat)

rise_time = tr.datetime()
set_time = ts.datetime()
max_time = tt.datetime()
duration = (set_time-rise_time).total_seconds()
dur_min, dur_sec = divmod(duration, 60)

# ALL times are in UTC 
print ("Rise time: %s" % rise_time.strftime("%T"))
print ("Set time: %s" % set_time.strftime("%T"))
print ("Max time: %s" % max_time.strftime("%T"))
print ("Duration: %02d:%02d" % (dur_min, dur_sec))
Microprocessor, Raspberry Pi & Arduino Hacker
Mainframe database troubleshooter
MQTT Evangelist
Twitter: @DougieLawson

2012-18: 1B*5, 2B*2, B+, A+, Z, ZW, 3B*3, 3B+

Please post ALL technical questions on the forum. Do not send private messages.

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allfox
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Re: UFO detector?

Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:39 pm

:D , maybe it would be easier and more practical to just use DougieLawson's program to do all the stuff, Mophy's law. Save for equipment, money, time...and much.....

Maybe think about how to make some super-light-speed space shuttle with Pi for visiting, is better than get some camera up and wait for UFO coming into its vision.

Even build a telescope controlled by Pi to glance stars would be better.

I quite appreciate the tech stuff and the objective, but the method to achieve it maybe be not that meaningful.

Anyway, it's a fun thread!

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