Google AirShow streams Google I/O live from several RC blimps (hands-on video)

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Google AirShow streams Google I/O live from several RC blimps (hands-on video)

Yes, there's a fleet of camera-equipped, remote-controlled blimps live-streaming a bird's-eye view of Google I/O on YouTube, right now. It's called Google AirShow and it's taken over the airspace within Moscone Center. We briefly chatted with Chris Miller, a software engineer with AKQA (the company that put the dirigibles together for Google), about the technology used in each aircraft. It all begins with an off-the-shelf model airship that's flown manually via standard a 2.4GHz radio. Each blimp is outfitted with a servo-controlled USB camera and 5GHz USB WiFi dongle which are both connected to a Raspberry Pi board running Debian, VLC and Python. A custom-designed Li-polymer battery system powers the on-board electronics. The webcam encodes video as motion-JPEG (720p, 30fps) and VLC generates a YouTube-compatible RTSP stream that's broadcast over WiFi. Python's used to pan the servo-controlled camera via the Raspberry Pi's PWM output. The result is pretty awesome. But don't just take our word for it -- check out the gallery and source link below, then watch our hands-on video after the break. %Gallery-188534%

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