The Investigative Capstone Unit (IC[U]) is developing a window camera mount for the University of Nevada Reno Police Department (UNRPD). While providing security at local football games and other university events, UNRPD found the use of a typical tripod to be cumbersome and inefficient. In order to remedy this, IC[U] is working on a product called Camera Ops that will allow UNRPD to mount a standard photo or video camera to a window in order to remove the need for a standard tripod and make surveillance during games more efficient. The product will utilize suction cups to mount the device to the window and will provide a wide range of motion both vertically and horizontally. Camera Ops will also be able to support a wide variety of standard market cameras, making it a universal product for any user.
Proof of Concept
To ensure that the Investigative Capstone Unit’s (IC[U]) camera mount design will hold up to real world application, four proof of concept (PoC) tests were designed. These tests will prove that the suction cup will be able to stand up to the forces imparted on the suction cup by IC[U]’s camera mount design and external forces applied by the consumer. The suction cup will be tested by applying an axial, downward, and moment force in order to test the suction cup’s overall strength. In addition to this IC[U] will also perform a longevity test to determine the suction cup’s lifetime. This task will detail the purpose, building, and procedure of these tests to ensure accuracy of the data and safety of the team members.
Investigative Capstone Unit, IC[U,] is focused on improving the safety of the community by designing and building a camera mount that can improve the cramped conditions of the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department surveillance team at football games and other large events. IC[U] also wants to make improvements to the mobility of a camera mount so that a larger field of view can be accessed. The purpose of Camera Ops is to mount professional cameras securely with three degrees of freedom for use in windows. The Camera Ops is intended to be used by the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department (UNRPD), surveillance companies, and professional photographers.
Camera Ops is designed to replace traditional tripods and free up the ground space they occupy. Camera Ops is a portable camera mount that can mount within a 3 ft. wide window. It has an adjustable track to allow for movement to and from the window and a fluid head mount to allow the camera to rotate about 2 axes. Camera Ops is mounted to the window via two suction cups, these suction cups are rigorously tested to ensure they will withstand the use of the camera mount. The mount also includes a support to help offset the stress on the suction cups and provide a third point of contact for the mount. Camera Ops is intuitive to use, easily adjusted, and simple to install.
All of the parts for Camera Ops have been fabricated in the University of Nevada, Reno machine shop. The suction cups were purchased and modified for use in Camera Ops using a drill press. Many of the parts in Camera Ops were fabricated using a manual mill. In addition to this, the fluid video head and the track slider were machined using a CNC mill. Some small parts of the assembly, such as the pieces used to balance the u-channel on the suction cup, were fabricated using computer assisted design and the Stratasys 3D printer in the DeLaMare Library.
Testing and Results
The Camera Ops was tested for longevity with a large moment imparted on the mount. The purpose of this test was to ensure that the Camera Ops mount could withstand a heavy camera in the most critical position for the entirety of its intended use period. The mount is intended to be in use for five hour segments, this was the duration of the test. To simulate a heavy camera in the most critical location a 26-pound weight was added to the end of the track for a total test weight of 32 lbs., see Figure 2. This location puts the largest moment on the suction cups, making it a critical point for failure. Since this was not a test for fatigue, the test was run only once. The Camera Ops passed this moment test with flying colors. The suctions cups showed no indications of failure at the end of the five hour test.
The mount was also tested in its axial direction. The suctions cups used in the Camera Ops are rated to 210 [lb], however, IC[U] wanted to ensure the suctions cups would be suitable to the Camera Ops design. To do this a 26-pound weight was added to the mount in the axial direction; for testing of 32 total pounds, see Figure 1 for setup. This test was also run for the intended use period of five hours. The suction cups again did not show any sign of failure at the end of the test.
The last test conducted on the mount was a downward test. A total of 26 pounds was fastened to the suction cup handle nearest to the window pane, for a total test weight of 32 lbs., Fig. 3. After five hours of testing, the suction cups showed no sign of failure.
The Camera Ops solves spatial issues traditionally associated with tripods. Since tripods sit on the floor, they reduce useable floor space. The Camera Ops is designed to mount to the window to maximize floor space and reduce tripping hazards.
The Camera Ops was designed for the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department (UNRPD). Since they work in a cramped space they have a need of a camera mount that does not take up valuable floor space. The Camera Ops was debuted to the UNRPD on Innovation Day and they were very enthusiastic about the camera mount. The UNRPD thinks that the Camera Ops will suit all of their needs and will even work for functions beyond what was originally intended.
Meet the Team
Academic accomplishments: Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers, Member of Theta Tau: Co-ed Professional Engineering Fraternity. 3.3GPA. Enrolled in the accelerated master’s program.
Where she’s from: Reno, NV
After graduation: Hopefully pursuing an internship in aerospace or the automotive industry then finishing up my advance master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Academic Accomplishments: Community Service Chair for Theta Tau Professional Co-ed Fraternity
Natan Brauner hails from the fabulous Las Vegas and is completing his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno in Fall 2017. After graduation Natan wants to pursue a job in the aerospace industry.
Academic Accomplishments: President and Founder of Nevada Robotics Society (2015-Present), Treasurer of Nevada STEMducation (2016), Brotherhood Chair head for Theta Tau Professional Co-Ed Fraternity.
Britny Mors is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Reno to get her engineering degree at the University of Nevada Reno. After graduation Britny plans to move to Lafayette Indiana and work in the mechanical engineering industry focusing on robotic systems.
Cristina Buick, originally from Florida, moved to Reno, NV to complete her education in mechanical engineering. She joined a local robotics company as a year-round mechanical engineer intern in early 2016 and is still with the company.
Cristina is currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the end of 2017. She plans to remain local and pursue her interests in robotics.
Academic Accomplishments: President ASME UNR Chapter (2015), Membership Chair SWE UNR Chapter (2016), Member Theta Tau Professional Coed Engineering Fraternity (2014-Present)
Brynn Williams is from Sandpoint, Idaho and is a senior in Mechanical Engineering. She has held an internship at Tamarack Aerospace Group for the past three summers and is very passionate about aerospace. After graduation she plans to get her pilot’s license and work for an aerospace engineering company.
A special thanks to our advisor Dr. Padilla, and the staff at the machine shop: Tony, Nasim, and Ian