I am new to Electronic Hardware, but have prior experience with Custom built web applications. Recently purchased Raspberry Pi and have been thinking of different projects to make with it as the center point.

My goal is to automate a camera pan and tilt as it follows an object indoors. I have a good concept of the systems needed to move the camera but am getting stomped on how exactly to track an object indoors. I need to track one object which is the speaker at an event. The area is 50'x50' and the single camera is located in the rear center of the area. The ceiling is sloped drop ceiling ranging in height from 10'-20' with plenty of attic space if needed.

I have thought of many different ways to do this and have ruled most of them out.

  • IR tracking. Set up a fixed camera and use filters to watch for and track IR signals off from a "pin" on the speaker. This would be visible to the recording camera as well unless filtered out.
  • Face tracking. Similar to first idea but this would be difficult as there could be other people that pass by the speaker and change the focus.
  • Color tracking. Similar to previous ideas but build software to setup every single session to capture a color specific to the speaker. This could again clash with other people or even surroundings and involves setup for every session.
  • Passive RFID tracking. Create a "Tag" that the speaker can wear or carry in pocket and triangulate location with receivers posted around area. This is the best idea as of yet. But all my research is pointing to receivers only being capable of receiving signals up to 5'-6' and would require too many receivers to cover full area as needed. and almost impossible to cover area with high ceilings.

I need to keep this project as low cost as possible and need to stay away from setups that use $100 tags.

Similar equipment:

  • SoloShot focuses on outdoor sports but is available with indoor adapter. This is a good pricey example. but I cannot understand how it learns location with single point of reception for object in 3D indoor space.
  • MoveNSee is another great example of what I am trying to accomplish. It's setup uses 3 wireless receivers as I expected.

I do not need to have a wireless or all in one setup. This setup will for the most part be setup permanently and used several times a week. This tag carried by the speaker needs to be concealable or able to blend in with lapel already being worn.


The Study on Using Passive RFID Tags for Indoor Positioning is probably the most helpful research item that I have came across and studied so far.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Look up RFID Radar and location sensing with Low Power Blootooth and new WiFi standards with ranging features are also in the works. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Jan 25 '16 at 7:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the speaker is wearing a tag, you might consider an active tag (a small transmitter) and use the RSSI (signal strength) output from a receiver on each side of the stage. It's possible for signal reflections to fool the receivers though. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Jan 25 '16 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ After doing much more research the most promising solution that I have come across is Pozyx at pozyx.io the project is still in preorder status and the kickstarter just ended in the end of 2015. It is a little pricy at 495€ and is built for arduino but should be compatible with raspberry pi. I will have to put this project on the back burner for a while due to price though. Thank you for the feedback. \$\endgroup\$ – amaster Jan 27 '16 at 15:20

Doing a project like this from scratch is very complex, involving a knowledge of signal processing algorithms etc. However, there is a solution that might be within your experience level. Look at a project called PIXY. It's a smart camera designed exactly for what you want. It can track color tags placed on the object to track. It even has it's own scripting language etc, etc, and a good support forum. It's fairly cheap too, at about $70. There might even be a raspberry pi interface for it already. Good luck...

P.S. Here is the project, and there is indeed a link for raspberry pi. http://cmucam.org/projects/cmucam5/wiki

  • \$\begingroup\$ Only problem with this is what happens when that color tag blends in with other colors. I have looked into this and like projects but I need a discreet tag not a big colored ball to track... \$\endgroup\$ – amaster Jan 25 '16 at 23:17

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