Triggertrap: What does it do?
Up to now, we have only given you a pretty high-level overview over the capabilities of the Triggertrap, but as we’ve finished the Prototyping process, things are coming together, and we can tell you in more detail what it’s all about.
To get even more in-depth, check out the Triggertrap User Manual, which has info about all of the below, but written in more of a ‘how to use the Triggertrap’ type of style.
The Triggertrap has have five built-in modes (although you can add your own, if you want to. More about that later). Just as a quick refresher, the modes are:
- Light trigger
- Laser trigger
- Sound trigger
You can select these modes by pressing the Mode button, it’ll cycle through from mode to mode.
Each mode will have certain settings, which you can choose via the Select button. Let’s talk about each mode individually!
Connecting the Triggertrap to your camera
With a wire - The Triggertrap has a 3.5mm mini jack port. This is where you plug in your camera. Of course, different cameras have different ports where you connect a remote trigger, but as you can see from our supported cameras list, we’re planning to support most types of cameras.
Hell, when I discovered that there were some cameras we couldn’t support out of the box, I went ahead and put together guides for you, so if you’re handy with a soldering iron, you can connect Ricoh cameras, CHDK-hacked cameras, and even flashes directly to the Triggertrap.
I love geeking out and writing, so I’ll be adding more cool Triggertrap hacks whenever I can. Simply keep an eye on the Hacking and Extending Triggertrap category here on www.Triggertrap.com.
Wirelessly – In addition to the 3.5mm port, Triggertrap has an IR-LED built-in. This is the same kind of LED that you would find on a remote control, and we’re currently looking into how we can add support for as many digital cameras as possible, using IR remote control.
In theory, if your camera supports an Infra-red remote, the Triggertrap should be able to trigger it.
In practice, we’ll try to build in as many IR codes as we can; but because the Triggertrap is hackable, you could always add your camera separately later!
Laser & Light modes
The Triggertrap has two very fast light sensors built in – one is an ambient light sensor, the other is a directional light sensor. The former measures the light in the room (“ambient light”), the latter is a directional light meter, which is perfect for use with a laser beam.
These two light sensors can be used for all sorts of awesome things. Point a laser beam at it the laser sensor, and you have a laser trigger – when someone breaks the laser beam, the Triggertrap knows about it, and you can trigger the camera.
We are going to include three modes in the triggertrap:
- Trigger on break. A laser beam is aimed at the Triggertrap, and it triggers when the beam is broken
- Trigger on make. No laser beam is aimed at the Triggertrap, but it triggers when it detects a laser beam.
- Trigger on change. Combines both of the above. It triggers once when it detects a laser beam, and again when it detects the beam has been broken.
Laser and light modes will have a time delay setting, adjustable from a few milliseconds to a second or so. great if you want to delay the triggering slightly after the Triggertrap detects a trigger event.
The ambient light sensor also has a sensitivity setting, which helps you ensure that the trigger works both in daylight and at night.
The Triggertrap has a built-in sound sensor, which works by ‘trigger on start’ – whenever the sound gets louder than the sensitivity level set, it takes a photo.
Sound mode has the same settings as ambient light mode: Time delay and sensitivity, to help you get the perfect shots
Timelapse photography is the art of taking a photo at an interval. Then, when you show them in rapid succession as a video, you get an animation of the world moving at high speed. The effect is pretty incredible – and Wired has a load of great examples collected here, if you need a bit of inspiration.
Linear time lapse. You choose how often you want to take a photo, and then you press ‘start’. The camera will take photos every X seconds (or minutes).
We are also considering releasing a non-linear time lapse later on, which would enable you to take timelapse sets where it appears that the action accelerates or slows down – stay tuned on this!
The Aux mode is one of the things I’m most excited about on the Trigger trap, because it’ll let you connect nearly anything to your camera.
Need some ideas? Well, how’s about this:
- Take a photo when you press your car horn
- Take a photo when someone opens a door
- Take a photo when the temperature drops below a certain temperature
- Take a photo when the sun comes up
- Take a photo when someone rings your door-bell
- Take a photo whenever someone loads a web page
- Hook it up to a clock and take a photo at noon every day
- Take a photo whenever someone switches on the TV
- Take a photo when your dogs step on a pressure-sensitive mat by their food bowl
If you can think of it, you can find a way of connecting it to the Triggertrap – and to take photos of it, too, of course! And if you can’t figure out how to make it happen, I’m sure the Triggertrap community would be more than happy to help you along. I already have a couple of cool ideas for auxiliary mode tutorials that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks.
Aux mode will have sensitivity and time delay settings.
The Triggertrap has a built-in display so you see what you’re doing – much easier to work with than guesstimating delays and sensitivity settings, for example, and it’ll give you useful feedback about the features you’re using at the moment.
The Triggertrap is controlled with touch-sensitive buttons. That means that even if you have slightly grubby paws, the Triggertrap should keep working.
We weren’t able to environmentally sealing the Triggertrap, but if you want it to be completely water proof, get yourself a nice DryCase – it has a water-sealed 3.5mm mini jack built in, so you can leave your Triggertrap in the rain for days on end if you want, without causing it to explode in a rain of sparks and hellfire.
The Triggertrap is battery powered, and runs on three AA batteries. We highly recommend you get a good battery charger and some high-amperage rechargeable batteries (Sanyo Eneloop batteries are a great compromise between price and quality): It’s better for the environment, better for your wallet, and they last much longer than Alkalines, as well. It’s a win-win-win!
The Triggertrap can also be powered via the USB port, for extra-long projects. Plug it into the wall or a computer using the Micro USB port, and you can take photos until the earth runs out of electric power.
We have implemented a power-saving feature, so that when you’ve set up your Triggertrap, it goes into ‘sleep’ mode. This disables the touch-sensitive buttons and the display, so it can run in the background. This means that the batteries will last much longer, and you can just leave it to do its thing while you go to the pub.
We understand that you love your camera, so we’ve done everything we can to protect it. Your camera is optically isolated from the rest of the Triggertrap (read more about opto-isolators if you’re geeky enough). This means that there is no copper wires physically connecting the Triggertrap to the camera – so if you do something unspeakably stupid (such as connecting your Triggertrap to a lightning rod to try to photograph lightning), there’s a fighting chance that your camera will survive the encounter.
In addition to all of that, Triggertrap will have an USB port, which you can use to add your own functionality to the device by programming it. We’re working on making the Triggertrap Arduino compatible, so you should be able to use the Arduino programming environment (which is based on the Processing programming language) to create your own features and functionality. The USB port also means that if we add additional functionality to the Triggertrap later, you can do a software update!
Sound exciting? Head over to the Triggertrap Shop to buy yours!