Ricoh 360 Module for IoT and Embedded Use

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#1

My Navi News

Navi.jp published an article written by Yukio Kobayashi in Japanese on a RICOH 360 module for embedded use. These demos were shown at the IoT/M2M 2017 exhibition earlier this month.

RICOH is introducing 360° camera technology extracted from THETA for utilization in IoT and embedded devices.

My Navi News

The hardware development kit connects two camera modules to one Raspberry Pi 3 for control.

Cloud Service Streaming Demo with Facial Recognition


My Navi News

In this sample video provided by Ricoh, the drone and the mounting/control system for the car are not visible in the video clip.

In this example, the 360 camera module is combined with digital single lens reflex (DSLR) GR series lens technology. This uses Ricoh’s Multi-Imaging Technology as a cloud service. One concept is to use this as a drive recorder with the GR lense facing forward and using the 360 module to capture the surroundings.

This technology was previously demoed before with a full-sized THETA. This is the first time it’s been demoed with the the 360 module.

Regarding these efforts, RICOH explains that they are hoping to join hands together with partners and create something using Ricoh’s imaging technology. RICOH aims to improve the value of the devices owned by (or developed in the future by) users by providing components rather than making the whole device. For that reason, RICOH is planning to aggressively release solutions that combine camera processing and cloud services for heavy processing such as facial recognition, etc. seamlessly for the user. Through exhibitions like this, RICOH is planning to continue to evaluate needs in various fields.

As the Ricoh 360 module is not in mass-production, you will need to contact Ricoh if you are interested in using it.


#2

Whoa, cool! The 360 module looks like the RICOH THETA S was cut in half almost. I guess that if storage and power are handled elsewhere, mostly you need to lenses and sensors and the stitching hardware/software - so the form/factor can change quite a bit. Interesting, thanks for posting!


#3

I believe the article says that the camera technology is based on the THETA. Is that your understanding from the sentence below.

THETAで得た360°カメラ技術をIoT機器や組込機器への活用に向けた紹介を行っている。


#4

@jcasman, I also had problems translating this paragraph below and didn’t include it into the article as I did not want to misrepresent Ricoh’s strategy regarding partners and delivery of industrial technology. If you have a moment, can you translate it into English?

こうした取り組みについて、同社では、パートナーも含めて、リコーのイメージング技術を活用して、手を取り合って何かを生み出すことにつながることを期待したもの、と説明しており、同社が機器全体を作るのではなく、ユーザーが持つ(もしくはこれから開発される)機器の価値をコンポーネントとして向上させることを目指したものとなる。そのため、顔認識などの重い処理をクラウドで対応して、カメラ処理とシームレスにユーザーが意識せずに融合させるソリューションなども積極的に公開していく予定とのことで、今回の展示会を通して、さまざまな分野におけるニーズに吸出しなどを行っていきたいとしている。


#5

Added directly to the article above, but it’s more than “based on,” it’s “extracted from.”

RICOH is introducing 360° camera technology extracted from THETA for utilization in IoT and embedded devices.


#6

Also added this directly to the article above. It’s clearly an aggressive effort to provide 360 degree components to partners and to continue to evaluate different needs for different industries and partners:

Regarding these efforts, RICOH explains that they are hoping to join hands together with partners and create something using Ricoh’s imaging technology. RICOH aims to improve the value of the devices owned by (or developed in the future by) users by providing components rather than making the whole device. For that reason, RICOH is planning to aggressively release solutions that combine camera processing and cloud services for heavy processing such as facial recognition, etc. seamlessly for the user. Through exhibitions like this, RICOH is planning to continue to evaluate needs in various fields.


#7

In the line below, what is devices owned?

RICOH aims to improve the value of the devices owned by

Does this mean cameras owned? I didn’t understand what article they were referring to.

ユーザーが持つ(もしくはこれから開発される)

Isn’t this referring to to some technology like a telepresence robot? Or, do you think that device is short for IoT device?

Now that I’m thinking about it, the article might be referring to an IoT device that the partner already has on the market or planning to develop?

Also, is the facial recognition service going to be offered by Ricoh or is it an example of a heavy processing cloud service that Ricoh could offer?


#8

Skipping the info in parentheses, you get: “RICOH aims to improve the value of the devices owned by… users.” I believe this means IoT or Embedded devices owned - or being developed by - users/partners.

Unclear if the services will be offered, but to me it sounds like they are at least actively considering it. They are attempting to combine the 360 degree module with cloud services that take the burden off the user for heavy processing activities and provide it all seamlessly, so the user/partner has easy building blocks for IoT and Embedded use. That’s my read of this article.


#9

I think it must be the IoT or embedded devices being developed by partners. It doesn’t seem like the Ricoh 360 Module is intended for end-users.

In the picture, it looks like the Raspberry Pi is powering the THETA control module and that the Raspberry pi is most likely using the USB API. It also looks like there is a Pi Hat on top of the Raspberry Pi with another module on top of the Pi Hat and a grove connector at the front of the board, possibly for a sensor?


#10

Hi, I only see a single Raspberry Pi connected to the USB port on the camera motherboard, not two Raspberry Pi’s as stated at the top of the post.


#11

I agree with this observation. Thanks. I took another look at the Japanese I realize that I mixed up the translation. It should be 2 camera modules are connected to 1 raspberry pi. Thanks for the help.

カメラモジュール2台をRaspberry Pi3に接続して制御するもので


#12

Hi, that was a fairly big error on my side in the original translation. It looks like two camera modules are being controlled by a single Raspberry Pi.

The questions that comes to mind is how did they do this and can a single Raspberry Pi control more than 2 camera modules?

It looks to me that there’s only a single USB cable going from the camera board and the Raspberry Pi. It also appears that there’s a ribbon cable from the control board to the Raspberry Pi.

Quite an interesting piece of gear. I’d like to see it in person. Unfortunately, that demo was in Tokyo, but I am hoping Ricoh will demo it in Santa Clara at an IoT conference so I can go down and look at it.


#13

I have some new information on the 360 module based on unofficial discussions with person that has knowledge about the project.

This is just a prototype to show functionality. The board and Raspberry Pi will be different. The board controlling the camera is an actual board from a THETA S unit. In production, the board would be customized for high-volume customers. The Raspberry Pi is shown as an example, not intended for use in production. The Raspberry Pi is only used for UVC (live streaming control) using USB. This prototype can’t store images or video. It’s demoed specifically for use as a 360 live streaming camera.

It’s not clear how they got one control board to control two cameras.