This is part three of a recently shot round of AXIOM Team Talks. For the previous episodes please see the apertus° Wiki.
Currently all AXIOM Beta Developer Kits ship in cardboard boxes filled with bubble wrap and plastic bags. This solution is far from ideal as the packaging cannot be reused and all the packaging material becomes trash when the camera has been received. As a future shipment option, we consider a hard-case that's functional, practical and can last a long time to take the camera on set or to store it when not in use.
Foam is essential to protect things inside a hard-case, but finding the right foam proved to be a challenge. Since we transport open electronics, anti ESD (electrostatic discharge) foam would provide an extra layer of security for recipients. If electronics aren't tightly packed in non ESD foam, then there's a chance they could move around in transit and thereby accumulate static charge. There's a risk that this could potentially damage some of the sensitive chips contained inside.
ESD foam samples.
Whilst the typically pink ESD foam protects sensitive components from static charge, it doesn't provide protection from a 'charged human' touching whatever's contained in the hard-case. Therefore, the ultimate solution is a dissipative ESD foam that has a high surface resistance. This basically discharges the human and completely protects the electronics inside the foam. Not many manufacturers have black, dissipative ESD foam in suitable thicknesses and many foam samples that were tested don't actually provide the surface resistance they claim to on paper it turned out.
We have now identified a local supplier who could provide us with exactly the dissipative foam we need.
AXIOM Micro is a project that's being spearheaded by two German students who decided to build a simplified/miniaturised version of the AXIOM Beta when they met at the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC). Everything in the AXIOM Micro design is geared towards greater affordability, e.g. smaller image sensor, single PCB on top of an existing off-the-shelf FPGA board, 3D printed lens mount, laser cut enclosure, etc.
But the technology shares a lot of architecture and interfaces with AXIOM Beta in fact, e.g. it's based on the same System-on-Chip (SoC) the Xilinx Zynq and both the Beta and the Micro have the same PCIe plugin module slots, so, once complete, the same plugin modules could be used with both Micro and Beta.
Note, that even though this is a new project, the current AXIOM Beta team is not involved in the AXIOM Micro development directly, thus not taking any focus/resources away from the AXIOM Beta development - rather some progress made with the AXIOM Micro is pushed upstream for the benefit of the AXIOM Beta community as well.
AXIOM Micro prototype.
Total build cost for the Micro is around 150€, but there is no mature product and it is not produce/sold currently. You can build everything yourself already, however. Head to the project's Wiki and Github repositories to download schematics and source code, etc. if you'd like to do this.
First work in progress sample footage is shown in the above Team Talk 15.3 episode coincidentally.
- 1/3" Rolling Shutter Image Sensor (AR0330)
- 2304 × 1296 pixel resolution - 60fps theoretical sensor limit
- 12 bit RAW output
AXIOM Micro Wiki
AXIOM Micro Github
In the next AXIOM Team Talk episodes, progress that's been made with UV/IR optical filter measurements, new firmware and other topics will be covered.
Hardware Production Update
Assembly pick and place machine.
Some changes/improvements have been made to the AXIOM Beta Power Board to allow for wider supply input voltage ranges (before was 5V) of 6 to 17V - this enables the use of quite a few battery standards (e.g NP-F Lithium-Ion batteries are typically 7.2V). Also the changes add the ability to power a 12V fan with PWM control - the fan will be the main cooling source inside the AXIOM Beta CP enclosure. Tests are ongoing but so far everything looks good. PCB Panel designs will be created as soon as the Power Board changes have been verified to be working as expected.
Due to the current world events a lot of companies and suppliers are shut down so this may entail some delays to AXIOM Beta production schedule.
Development updates are frequently posted inside the project's Telegram group as it's easier and faster than via newsletters or articles such as this. More detail about ongoing Power Board testing has been posted and meeting notes are typically posted there every Monday too. If you'd like to keep an eye on general developments as they happen and get involved with discussion or ask questions, then please feel free to join.
Want to participate?
Want to provide feedback or suggest improvements? Want to try your own approach and need help?
Get in touch via IRC or email.