Monday, June 22, 2015

Optical delusions, it's a matter of perspective

Two things are going on here. One is the camera is failing and it took some luck to get this picture below in the first place. It was once upon a time a color camera I think, but it has become more of a faded black and white image when it's working at all.  It's also the incorrect type of kind of camera. The image is accurate but the POV is not.

The Garmin 7612 display is new, the existing camera not so much. The owner was aware the camera had been in poor health, and from my perspective it had long passed on into Kodak heaven. In truth it had no power initially, but when given power it had a severe case of the Delirium Tremens. It really doesn't matter. For these reasons it's going into a plastic body bag for transport and internment at the local paupers landfill.

After mucking around a bit it was discovered the power lead to the camera had pulled off. A quick snip snip and a crimp fixed the power issue.

When I got it working, sort of, the "D'oh" epiphany struck. It's a mirror image thing or lack there of that's the real problem.

Mirrors are interesting and mysterious objects. They're also the primary tool we use to understand what we look like. So the next time you want to strain your brain, stand in front of a mirror, raise your right hand and look at your image. The person in the mirror, that being you, has raised their left hand. It's all deep brain magic that's happening. We usually don't give this any thought as makeup is applied, or hair is combed. Now stand back and have someone take a picture of you, look in the mirror and then compare the two.

Many think they look different, and in subtle ways your brain says you are. The image on the left of the dashing Installer is how I see myself in the mirror.

That dude on the right in the standard camera view however looks a little sneaky and furtive to me. Freckles switch sides along with your hair part and all other asymmetric features subliminally jump out at us. This can be uncomfortable to some.

Here's another example. Take your smart phone and use the forward camera selfie view, raise your right hand again, and snap a picture. Now look at the picture you took. In most cases the camera shows you a mirror image prior to taking the picture, but then flips the image horizontally for you while processing it. In the finished picture your left hand is now raised.

So here is the problem. This is a similar view to the one above on the display taken with my camera. I've labeled the real sides. Port is the left side for those who aren't very boaty, and you hopefully can figure the starboard side out.

This camera is being used to back the boat into a slip. The problem is although this image is correct in all ways, from the perspective of the helmsman it's really back asswards. The view is good if you're facing backwards towards the stern of the boat, but the helmsman is facing forward. Right is now left and it's confusing.

Now here is the better view. Yes it initially looks wonky because you're still facing backwards.

But try imagining this photo in a frame, turning it around and placing it at the helm facing towards you. Your brain will now understand port is now port on the port side and starboard is now starboard on the starboard side. See I told you there are brain dark arts happening here.

The new camera is a Specotech CV627MR. I've installed a lot of these through the years. It's wide angled, infrared LED lit for night use, IP67 rated, and best of all it has a five year warranty. That small plastic bag has three gender bender composite video adapters for BNC to RCA conversions. It does an excellent job at a modest price.

So here is the finished product hanging under the spreader of the trawler's electronic's mast. I used the existing clam shell to route the cable. I pulled in new power wiring because the original red power wire fell down inside the mast.

Why new wiring? The power wires had been taped to the coax video cable. So either it all had to be back pulled, and then pulled back up...or I could use the pull string I had left behind when I installed the new radar to pull new red and black wires in, along with a new pull string. In short the latter was faster and cheaper.

Everything works great now. When the owner gets back into town I'll have him help me twist and turn the camera till the view is straight to the eye. It's tedious to do this by yourself. No Bill twist it left this time, no damn it, the other left.

The mirror thing is a lot like the thermos mystery. How does it know that it's supposed to keep hot things hot and cold things cold?

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