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Time Lapse Rover for eMotimo TB3

By Michael Mikkelson |

Time lapse footage is becoming very popular, and adding motion to the clips adds interest to the final results. Using an eMotimo TB3 as the controller, I was originally limited to a 6 foot rail system for 3-axis motion. I wanted something stable for the camera, but also be able to traverse a number of different terrains, not just something smooth. This DIY Rover build allows the camera to travel hundreds of feet using the TB3 as a "the brains." A majority of parts for the Rover were purchased from ServoCity using Actobotics parts. Think of Actobotics as the grown-up version of the Erector set. I've also called this a "Hyperlapse" rover, as it allows me to capture time lapse photography sequences over long distances. This rover is built to travel very slow, and will not impress anyone with it's speed, but the stepper motor that I use has plenty of torque and precision for amazing sequences.

Basically, the way the rover works is the TB3 sends a signal to the camera to take a picture, and then the rover moves a very small distance. Then, repeat. You can set the interval, ramping, how far the rover travels, and how many images to capture in the TB3 setup. In addition to the rover moving laterally, the TB3 can pan and tilt the camera during the move.

The above videos are all time lapse sequences that use the DIY Rover to capture a motion sequence over an extended distances. To really see the rover travel a large distance, you need to allocate a few hours. You want short moves between pictures so the time lapse is smooth. I'm still experimenting with the settings.

Necessary Miscellaneous Parts:

  • 1/4" x 1" Screw
  • 3/8" x 1.5 Hex Screw
  • Velcro for Battery