This article describes an all-volunteer science project's use of a donated Linux camera for the Jaluro rover it hopes to field in Google's Lunar X PRIZE competition. It discusses several advantages that patent-free Open Source software like Linux and Theora offer for scientific research projects.
The paper was written by Anders Feder, who volunteers with Team FREDNET, a non-profit scientific organization competing to win Google's $20 million Lunar X PRIZE. The prize will be awarded to the first largely privately funded entity that lands a robot on the Moon, travels 500 meters, and transmits high-quality images and data back to Earth.
The paper discusses the project's use of a donated Elphel NC353L network camera, an interesting device that uses open source software and FPGA firmware to capture, compress, and store/transmit extremely high-resolution video. Elphel's cameras were previously used by Google's Books Library and Street View projects.
Feder provides considerable background on Elphel, highlighting the open source approach it considers fundamental to its business model. He also describes how open source technology enables Team FREDNET to collaborate more effectively than it otherwise could.
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