Author Topic: Image Acquisition in PixInsight (Was: When will Pixinsight...)  (Read 55047 times)

Offline Emanuele

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....get an ImageAcquisition process?   ;D
Wouldn't it be cool to just do everything within PI (and within OSX!):  Control CCDs, FilterWheels, Plate Solving and interfacing with the planetariums.
Those are the only 4 major tools that are needed, in the end.

:)
Just dreaming...

E.
« Last Edit: 2011 January 21 07:45:46 by Pleiades »

Offline Jack Harvey

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #1 on: 2010 December 30 06:55:50 »
Would not hold my breath, such a program requires dealing with a myriad of hardware and drivers etc.  I could be wrong, but my preference is too do the image processing - and do it well.
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Offline DaveS

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #2 on: 2010 December 30 07:22:18 »
I think that could slow down the ongoing development of PI as an imaging processing resource (and dare I say, documentation for it  ;)).

Many astro-imaging CCD cameras come with image capture software, albeit mostly quite basic, and there are a number of free guiding programmes (e.g. PHD)

Astro Art offers both capture and guiding, and is not expensive. At least not when compared to it's competitors offerings.

My vote goes to keeping PI as a 'stand-alone' image processing package, continued development of new 'tools', and improvement of existing ones.

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Offline Juan Conejero

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #3 on: 2010 December 30 09:40:20 »
If some developer or development team wants to implement an image acquisition suite on PixInsight, it will be very welcome. And I agree: it would be extremely cool.

Right now PixInsight/PCL provides a rich, multiplatform development framework to implement sophisticated graphical interfaces and image processing tools. It is just a matter of putting the device drivers into action (the dirty work); everything else is very easy.

I personally won't start development of anything related to image acquisition. However, any interested developers can count on my support and assistance. PixInsight is an open-architecture system precisely to make everything possible --and it is possible, if someone decides to start a project seriously.

Packing and uploading PI version 1.6.9.651 while I'm writing this, so stay tuned ;)
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Offline RBA

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #4 on: 2010 December 30 15:32:41 »
If some developer or development team wants to implement an image acquisition suite on PixInsight, it will be very welcome. And I agree: it would be extremely cool.

Interesting! I was about to post a message with only two words:

"Delegate. Supervise."

And let those words do the talk, but in the end I decided to keep it to myself in case it wasn't quite in line with your thoughts.

Well, there you go!

Offline Emanuele

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #5 on: 2011 January 02 01:40:57 »
If some developer or development team wants to implement an image acquisition suite on PixInsight, it will be very welcome. And I agree: it would be extremely cool.

Right now PixInsight/PCL provides a rich, multiplatform development framework to implement sophisticated graphical interfaces and image processing tools. It is just a matter of putting the device drivers into action (the dirty work); everything else is very easy.

I personally won't start development of anything related to image acquisition. However, any interested developers can count on my support and assistance. PixInsight is an open-architecture system precisely to make everything possible --and it is possible, if someone decides to start a project seriously.

Packing and uploading PI version 1.6.9.651 while I'm writing this, so stay tuned ;)




Ahhhhh! NICE Juan! I am glad you are with me on this! :) So now we just a need a good kind soul to develop the ImageAcquisition process! :)   Anyone, anyone?

Offline David Raphael

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #6 on: 2011 January 04 07:49:27 »
Would ASCOM support be sufficient?  Or do you think that ASCOM is too much of a .NET / Windows only technology?

I have only tinkered with Javascript so far in PixInsight.  If someone where interested in exploring this idea, would Image Acquisition be a module like DBE or ACDNR, or would it tie into a different point of the PI architecture?  As I'm typing this, I'm imagining an interface where one PI workspace is running my acquisition and guider, and in another I'm processing images.

But it seems like we are still at a point in the architecture doesn't allow modules to communicate with each other.  Is this still the case?  Because when I asked about doing an image stacking module, it seemed like that was one of the limitations...

David Raphael

Offline Emanuele

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #7 on: 2011 January 04 08:32:57 »
David,

I know nothing on programming. But as far as GUI, I would think of an Image Acquisition module just like the ACDNR, etc. where you can choose the CCD camera, and Filter wheel, and it has controls for exposures, guider etc.
It certainly would not need to run parallel to other modules, since usually ones acquires the image only.

It could also contain a Real Time Stacking module, where PI monitors the folder where the acquired images are being saved and stacks them in Real Time to allow a preview of the final image (no calibration or anything - just a live preview)
.

Just my thoughts.
I am getting excited for this!
E.



Offline David Raphael

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #8 on: 2011 January 04 08:35:57 »
And I guess Guiding would have to be a "tab" in the module window?
David Raphael

Offline Emanuele

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #9 on: 2011 January 04 13:43:10 »
Right :)

Offline David Raphael

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #10 on: 2011 January 04 14:34:37 »
The real time monitoring sounds like a challenge to me...

It seems like that might not be possible as a Module - can anyone verify that or not?
David Raphael

Offline Juan Conejero

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #11 on: 2011 January 05 04:55:42 »
Hi David, Emanuele,

I'm glad this is provoking some interest. New development projects on PixInsight are always of high priority for me (see FAQ 1.4).

Image acquisition should be implemented as a module or a set of modules written in C++ using the PCL (PixInsight Class Library) framework. JavaScript scripts can be extremely powerful --much more than what may seem--, but this is definitely something that would require a tighter integration with the PixInsight platform, which is only possible with modules.

Indeed, .NET and everything it means and involves (dependencies on Microsoft and Windows) is a problem. As you know, PixInsight is cross-platform, vendor-agnostic and open-standards-based by nature. I don't know the ASCOM platform in detail, but I have the impression that it's Windows-centric, unfortunately.

That said, I don't see any technical problem to implement something based on ASCOM and .NET using PixInsight and PCL. It would only work on Windows, which is extremely ugly, but fortunately, we have VMware and VirtualBox to run virtual machines on FreeBSD, Linux and Mac OS X.

I am no hardware expert by any stretch of the imagination, but CCD cameras should be relatively easy to control from Linux, Mac OS X and Windows if the manufacturers provide software drivers for *all* of these operating systems. And if they don't, then they should be gifted with hundreds of complaints every day :)

Whatever you decide to start, you have our support. And if you find that you need something that we don't have, then we'll implement it.

Quote
But it seems like we are still at a point in the architecture doesn't allow modules to communicate with each other.  Is this still the case?

Modules can indeed communicate (for example, each time you register two images with StarAlignment it is communicating with  file format support modules to read and write image files). However, I don't see any limitation here for an image acquisition module. How could this be a problem in this case?

Quote
The real time monitoring sounds like a challenge to me...
It seems like that might not be possible as a Module - can anyone verify that or not?

This can be done with a dedicated thread. You start a thread that retrieves the contents of a directory at regular intervals. When it detects some changes in the files stored in the directory, then it modifies some variables that other running processes are also monitoring.

With a similar scheme based on parallel threads, you can implement several functions that work concurrently. For example, you can be guiding a telescope, controlling a camera, moving a dome and showing the acquired images on the screen as soon as they appear on a directory. Threads are very powerful and efficient in PixInsight/PCL.
Juan Conejero
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Offline David Raphael

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #12 on: 2011 January 05 05:16:31 »
Thanks for your detailed response.

I have been considering this as a project for a while now.  I'm not committing yet ;-)  However, I may go ahead and start getting digging into the PCL - I think my misunderstanding about the architecture came from a question I asked about using PJSR here - http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1922.msg14728#msg14728 ... I had it in my mind that..well I'm not really sure what I had in my mind :-P

I am actually a QHY dealer - and I think if there was a legitimate set of options for image acquisition, telescope control, guiding etc... for Linux - I think the drivers would come much easier. 

And you are completely correct - it is not difficult for vendors to support multiple platforms.  SBIG does it, QSI does it and others...the easy thing would be for these damn vendors to just open source the drivers.  I think they are concerned about proprietary code, but I think they can just use a firmware style system where there is a binary they distribute that is closed source, but the actual driver runtime and API could easily be open source...but I digress...

I don't think the ASCOM approach is the right way to go the more I think about it.  However, I think that we could absolutely support ASCOM just like any other device, but it shouldn't be the basis for a PI based Image Acquisition system.  Although we might be able to take the C# interface design and use it as a starting point from a design perspective.  I will have to check their license on this.  But it would definitely be easier for vendors if the system "quacked" the same way as a well established standard like ASCOM!

I will think about this some more...anyone that has any ideas or suggestions as well - please add to this thread.  If I were to write something like this, it would be free.  I would want it to be open source - I'm not sure what license etc...but that can be discussed if something actually becomes a bit more real :-D

David Raphael

Offline vicent_peris

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #13 on: 2011 January 09 04:22:12 »
Hi all,

first, I think it's not a good idea to prevent the community from doing what any user wishes. I think a project like this would not stop PI development, but improve more in the future, if this is a community project.

Second, IMO, what's really needed is a multiplatform port of ASCOM. ASCOM is being today, IMO, a bit outdated. There are a lot of multiplatform apps right now, and this will evolve in the near future. So it would be great if we have a platform independent (well... only driver dependent) communitcation protocol for astronomical instruments.

Anyway, we can start doing simple things like managing only one instrument... I will be there to test any software. I have plenty of instruments in my univ to run the tests (from Apogee, FLI, Farchild, Astelco, PlaneWave, Meade, Bisque, etc).


Best regards,
Vicent.

Offline mmirot

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Re: When will Pixinsight....
« Reply #14 on: 2011 January 09 07:07:49 »
This is whole different animal. Testing drivers is full time job and there is always a new one.

 Run away... Run away.... :surprised:

Max