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How would an R200 fare in space?

New Contributor II

Curious to hear a discussion on how you guys think an R200 would fare in space, particularly in LEO. Assume the camera has something to look at and is not just out there by itself in orbit. Obviously there's lots of infrared light at times, but would this hurt or help the sensor, given that it uses reflected IR light to compute depth? Could the stereo cameras' exposure be adjusted to suit an IR heavy environment such as LEO?



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Honored Contributor III

Cooling of the camera could be an issue in LEO. As the amount of air reduces, heat generated by the electronics is less able to dissipate away and overheating can occur. Some kind of radiator may help draw the heat away. The original RealSense F200 camera and the SR300 had heat-sink fins on the back of their casing. The R200 does not have these, unfortunately.

As gravity reduces, heat may have trouble moving away from the camera, and just accumulate around the camera instead of floating away on rising air. If there is still some atmosphere in LEO, albeit thin, then a strong fan may help to push it away from the casing.

An excess of light could cause the IR sensor in the camera to become saturated, causing an excess of white color on the depth image. On the R200, this can be reduced by using scripting to turn off a component called the IR Emitter that assists the IR Sensor with exposure. You may still get a lot of disruption on the image in very bright conditions though. The R200 can have its left and right exposure value set with scripting though in the '2016 R2' Windows SDK. Intel® RealSense™ SDK 2016 R2 Documentation

Librealsense has stronger support to influence R200 exposure with commands such as:





If the camera is going to be taking scans whilst in motion, a model with a global shutter may be best for optimum image quality. Models with a global shutter include the R200 and D435. Whilst the D435 would be a good choice because of its advanced new Vision Processor D4 image processing chip, its casing seems to lack the radiator fins of the F200 and SR300 casings. The D435 will also not likely not be available for a few months even if you ordered it today due to shortages caused by overwhelming demand, so it would not be available to you if you were planning to launch the camera into LEO soon.

You will surely want the setup to be as lightweight as possible. A good option to consider may be to use the R200 implementation in Intel's Aero drone system. This is a caseless R200 board attached to a computer mini-board called the Aero Compute Board, with two separate 8MP and VGA cameras for improved video resolution. These parts can be purchased from the drone section of Intel's Click online store. A caseless R200 may also aid in the escape of heat away from the circuitry. Intel® Aero Platform Developer Kits