IRE – Overview (Part 1 of 7)


The post “May I introduce IRE?” has already explained the basics of what IRE is. This post will be the start of whole series of blog posts about my journey of doing this project.


  1. Overview – This post.
  2. Stereo camera – Choice of camera module and how it is assembled to stereo cam.
  3. Video & audio transmission – Transmitting the video and audio wirelessly by Wireless HDMI.
  4. Media processing – Processing the live video of the stereo cam for the Oculus Rift and audio of the microphone.
  5. Camera Gimbal – Gyrating camera rig resp. head.
  6. Control system – System of processsing and transmitting the command controls for the gimbal and the robot.
  7. Conclusion – My very own conclusion about the Open Day and this project.


The following diagram will give a short overview of the IRE’s system:


The whole system is split in two completely independent parts: a media system and a control system.

Media System

The media system is responsible for getting the image from the cameras, processing (especially distorting the image for the Rift) and sending the image wirelessly to Oculus Rift. Additionally it also transmits the audio from microphone on the robot. It’s built from these parts:

  1. USB 3.0 Cameras: two See3CAMCU50 with
  2. Onboard computer: Zotac EI750 with Windows 7
  3. Wireless HDMI transmitter: Nyrius Aries Pro
  4. Oculus Rift DK1
  5. HDMI Splitter, TV & Headphones

Control System

As part of the control system, a stationary computer receives joystick input from the gamepad and head-tracking data from the Rift. After some calculations, the control signal is sent over Bluetooth to the servo controller. This sends the proper signal to the servos and motor controllers. Basically I used these parts:

  1. Head tracking of Oculus Rift and gamepad Logitech F310 input over USB
  2. Stationary computer: Intel NUC D54250WYB
  3. Serial Bluetooth: two connectBlue OBS421I-26-0 and one connectBlue ACC-34
  4. Servo controller: Pololu Mini Maestro 12-Channel
  5. 3 axis gimbal: 3 Savöx SH-1290MG
  6. Robot: Parallax Arlo Robotic Platform System

Costs and time

IRE was built for our open day at the University of Applied Sciences FHNW. I worked on this project full-time for three months; overall that adds up to about 500 hours. All the parts cost roughly 2500 CHF (or 2640 USD).

The next article will cover the choice of the stereo camera.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please use the comment form. I am always happy to learn something new.

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