Hexapod for Drone Testing – 6 Axis Motion Simulator to Improve Image Stabilization

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The human brain can do amazing things when it comes to image processing.  Everyone who has taken video while running or just walking has made that experience.  Our brain filters out all the jitter and shake and plays back a reality that is more virtual than real.

For the longest time since the inception of the camera, analog and digital image recording technology has been overwhelmed by motion and vibration.

Aerial view of a building. Left: sharp with active image stabilization. Right: image blur is caused by vibrations.
Aerial view of a building. Left: image blur is caused by vibrations. Right: sharp with active image stabilization.

Modern image stabilization technology to the rescue

There are two basic ways to compensate for unwanted motion – electronic algorithms (basically shifting images around in software) and active opto-mechanical motion compensation systems. Both have come a long way and modern compact cameras and even cell phone cameras show remarkable results.

One way of taking these algorithms and mechanisms to the next level is automated motion simulation and testing. Because unwanted motion is not restricted to one or two degrees of freedom, hexapod 6-axis motion systems provide the most comprehensive basis for testing.

Video: H-840 motion simulation hexapod with quadcopter drone. The hexapod can be controlled with user defined motion sequences in all degrees of freedom, allowing repeatable testing of a variety of motion profiles, frequencies and amplitudes.
Video: H-840 motion simulation hexapod with quadcopter drone. The hexapod can be controlled with user defined motion sequences in all degrees of freedom, allowing repeatable testing of a variety of motion profiles, frequencies and amplitudes.

Video: Voice-Coil Driven hexapod for 6-axis motion profile simulation with frequencies to 100 Hz, with lighter loads.
Video: Voice-Coil Driven hexapod for 6-axis motion profile simulation with frequencies to 100 Hz, with lighter loads.

In addition to image stabilization testing, the hexapod can also be used to simulate turbulence and tweak on-board stabilization algorithms for the drone.

Motion simulation is one application, and motion cancellation is another one.  For example, large movie cameras, or sensitive instruments that travel moving vehicles or marine vessels sometimes need to be held stable in a horizontal position.  The hexapod can provide this service, too.  Different drive types are available for different loads, forces and frequencies.

The H-900KSCO motion hexapod can deal with motion profiles as per ISO 20672, ISO 8728, and ISO 16328. It can handle loads to 130lbs (60kg).
The H-900KSCO motion hexapod can deal with motion profiles as per ISO 20672, ISO 8728, and ISO 16328. It can handle loads to 130lbs (60kg).

 

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About PI

PI (Physik Instrumente) is a leading manufacturer of precision motion control equipment, piezo motors, air bearing stages and hexapod parallel-kinematics for semiconductor applications, photonics, bio-nano-technology and medical engineering. PI has been developing and manufacturing standard & custom precision products with piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives for 4 decades. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with fifteen subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of more than 1,000.

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