AXIOM Remote Concept Rendering 2018 - Note: Design is subject to change as improvements are made.
1 Project Overview
This device, and its associated software, is designed to be a comprehensive remote control unit for the AXIOM Beta range of cameras. Like the devices it controls, AXIOM Remote is an open source, open hardware project and all data surrounding its research and development shall be made freely available.
Note: The concepts on this page are pre-production and thereby subject to change as improvements are made. Please do get involved with either ideas for future PCB/enclosure revisions or programming software related to GUI (general user interface).
AXIOM Remote was funded as a stretch goal in the AXIOM Beta crowd funding campaign. It features push-buttons and switches as well as 2 rotary encoders (also with push-button function) that can be used to control a wide range of camera parameters like shutter speed, gain, overlays, FPS, gamma curves etc. To keep everything as flexible as possible the buttons next to the LCD have dynamic functionality as their commands are displayed next to them on the LCD. Switches on the side allow locking of each individual dial wheel or all the buttons together.
Force Feedback for the two dials with two small built-in micro-stepper motors allowing for feeling settings (e.g. min, max reached) without users having to look at the display was considered but deemed too complex/expensive for time-being.
The AXIOM Remote is based on a 2.8" LCD screen (showing status information, camera parameters and enabling navigation through menus) and a PIC32MZ micro-controller. The connection between AXIOM Remote and an AXIOM camera will be a flexible (preferably spiral) cable with solid connectors. Expansion slots (with GPIO) will make future additions of new buttons/knobs/wheels/controllers/interfaces easy and straight forward.
- Source on GitHub can be found here. It contains a project that can be opened in MPLABX (note that the XC32 compiler is a separate download). The software runs bare metal on the PIC32MZ.
- Workboard in apertus° Labs can be found here.
|| Good to Have
| a few Status LEDs
|| single color LED under most buttons (transparent)
|| RGB LED under every button (transparent)
| power supply from camera
|| power IN connector
|| own battery mount
| wired operation
|| wireless operation option
|| turn LCD into touchscreen (can be disabled in menu)
| Control all AXIOM related functionalists
|| Control active lens mount related functionalists
|| Remote Control other cameras and devices (LANC, USB, DSLR Shutter Release, etc.)
| 2x Rotary Knobs (infinite rotation)
|| additional slider/fader knob
|| Force Feedback Rotary Knobs (built-in microstepper motor)
- Printed circuit boards have been designed and populated.
- Button options are being tested.
- UI design is ongoing but further software refinements are still required (please see this page's footer if you'd like too assist).
- CAD design for aluminium milled enclosure parts is ongoing.
AXIOM Team Talk 14.3 (Oct 2018) covered AXIOM Remote development progress.
2.1 PCB Version 0.9
The first development prototype of the AXIOM Remote printed circuit board (V0.9) has been designed and routed, ordered, received and populated. This first version is not meant to be perfect (for testing we just used a simple 6x6mm Alps push-button type - not the more expensive ones with better haptic feedback) but should provide a good foundation for developers to focus on ensuring that the menus work and how to create an intuitive and pleasant user experience when operating an AXIOM camera.
PCB Source files: 
2.2 Next PCB Version
Considerations/Ideas for the next version:
- Do we really need a second rotary knob? For menu navigation and the changing of parameters so far we saw no use for it designing the UI.
- Add flash memory for storing of images? So far we have not exceeded the PIC32MZs internal storage memory but if we want to make the internal help system more extensive with lots of added illustrations/images it might be required to add more flash storage.
- Remove left side rocker switches? So far we have not found any function for them. They are prone to being switched accidentally as they stand out from the device quite far. Having buttons/switches on the left side of the remote prevents it from being attached to the camera/rig on that side though.
- Remove top side pushbuttons? So far we have not found a real application for them. In line with good user interface design / user experience these buttons need labels so the user clearly sees what is going to happen when he presses them. This is difficult as the label would not be visible from the front of the device.
- Reduce number of RGB LEDs to two (for status LEDs: State and Operation)? So far we have not discovered any real world benefit to having RGB LEDs to illuminate pushbuttons. Changing the button illumination color to indicate something happening while pushing it makes little sense as while pushing it the users finger is covering the button making it impossible for the user to see it.
- Having one white LED per pushbutton could make sense that as it could indicate which buttons are currently active (requires buttons to show significant transparent surface so the light can shine through)
- add 4 more holes to PCB somewhere close to eachs PCBs corners so the enclosure back can be screwed together with the enclosure front.
- rounded corners for PCB so it fits into enclosure better, 5mm radius
- to save space some cutouts on the PCB would be handy for adding thread mount points to the enclosure in the middle of each side
- shall we add additional PCB screw holes near the push buttons to add additional stability and prevent the PCB from being bent by force being applied to push buttons.
3 General Concept
File:AXIOM Remote V3 ButtonPos.pdf
An older version of the AXIOM Remote concept:
Idea for attaching the AXIOM Remote to a camera docking station style:
4 Operation Concepts
5 Electronic Components
- 3D accelerometer to measure device orientation (optional)
- AXIOM Remote is currently powered externally via 5V DC supply (internal batteries might be considered for the future: 4x AA battery tray?)
- currently the firmware is programmed with a PICkit2 directly into the PIC32MZ flash memory - in the future this may be done over USB - having a separate microSD card containing the devices firmware is currently not planned.
- The AXIOM Remote has no requirement for internal RTC (plus button cell battery) - instead timecode is synced with/by a connected AXIOM Beta.
ALPS SRBE210200 rotary + push switch
SMT type rotary encoders:
Beta connectivity through Hirose HR10A-7P-4S (a bit expensive but massive)
or alternatively 4 pin 2.5 or 3.5mm audio cables:
plus metal receptor on Beta and Remote:
RS232C as Beta <-> Remote protocol4
Toogle Switches APEM ZL series
The plan is to design a two part assembly of aluminium CNC milled front/back that are screwed together.
Ongoing OnShape CAD design:
- design silicone rubber (or alternatively solid plastic single button) pads for buttons
- design extension module mount (right side) and electronics connectors
- design connector position
- test TFT in direct sunlight, consider options for shading screen on remote somehow.
- Herbert suggested instead of screwing the PCB it could be clamped between front/back, he will share photos of this concept in action.
Our very own very early stage menu simulator:
and its source code: 
We do not want to copy but we do want to learn from the experience and mistake of others, also a kind of standard has established itself with the way professional cinema cameras are operated:
Arri product line:
8 Further Notes, References, Collected Links