Selecting the Proper Telescoping Pole Camera Design

An integral part of all ZistosHD portable video systems is the telescoping pole on which our cameras are fastened.  Our poles are offered in two styles  – manual positioning and motorized positioning:

Manual Positioning:

Our “Friction Hinge” design provides for the end of the pole to be positioned manually at an angle of +/- 120 degrees. While easily bent, the hinge maintains the desired angle with a holding force that is strong enough to maintain the camera position, but it still allows the position of the camera to be adjusted by “nudging” the assembly against a stationary object or structure. The entire pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees around an area. The friction hinge is protected with a rubber boot that prevents dirt and debris from entering the assembly. This design is best suited for an open environment, or when the access / entry point of the area to be inspected is large enough to accommodate the size of the camera assembly. It is also best used where the camera tilt position does not need to be continually adjusted. The advantages of this pole design are that it is usually lower in cost, uses less battery power, and is lighter in weight than the motorized poles.

Motorized Positioning:

The camera angle of our motorized pole is controlled remotely using the keypad on the pole handle or using the touchscreen display on the included tablet. The camera can be positioned at an angle of +/- 120 degrees at a speed of articulation controlled by the user.  The gearhead motor is designed with a special slip-clutch that protects the motor against mechanical shock, if the motor is back driven by a camera head being pushed back when mounted to the motorized assembly. Like the above friction hinge pole, the motorized pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees. The advantages of this design are that it allows inspection of areas with narrow openings that only allow the camera to be inserted in its smallest footprint orientation (usually 0 degrees, positioned straight); or when the application requires inspection of a broad area and constant adjustments to the camera position are required.

Problems with 360 Degree Video Pole Cameras:

There are some systems that are available from other manufacturers, which use poles that offer no articulation. The reason for this is that they use cameras that provide 360-degree imaging and claim that no panning of the camera is required. This in practice is problematic because of several issues that impact image quality to a significant extent. One of the main problems is that generating even illumination in a dark area is not easily achieved. This creates dark areas in the inspection location and limits the image details that can be observed by the inspector. The ZistosHD product line uses traditional camera optics on their cameras. The traditional video cameras used in the ZistosHD system produce a bright beam of light that is bore-sighted with the field of view of the camera and will always produce a usable image regardless of orientation. The other issue has to do with image resolution and zoom capabilities. The 360-degree cameras are limited to using only digital zoom using software processing. Digital zoom reduces the resolution of an image when you zoom in. This means that the bigger the image gets on your screen; the less detail is observable. The ZistosHD systems have optical zoom cameras available that allow the user to zoom into image details without losing any image resolution. In addition, ZistosHD offers thermal imaging options, which are not available with 360 degree systems.

ZistosHD poles are lightweight, carbon fiber and are available in lengths from 2’ to 30’. The sections that telescope in and out can be locked into position with collars that are turned by hand. All ZistosHD camera heads and pole are interchangeable, so a system can be equipped with different add-ons and attachments to address varied application needs.

Whatever your application – tactical surveillance, urban search and rescue, vehicle/cargo search, or industrial inspection – please call us for more information or to set up a no-obligation in-person or virtual product demonstration.

Benefits of Motorized Articulation and Optical Zoom in Victim Location Operations

ZistosHD Victim Location Systems are wireless, high-definition systems designed to help operators facilitate victim location operations following building collapses, natural disasters or other search and rescue missions. All ZistosHD systems are modular and different system configurations are available. The systems can be custom configured with different poles and camera technology to best fit the needs and budget of a USAR team.

The ZistosHD Victim Location tool combines the ZistosHD handle with a wireless HD tablet display which can be configured with a telescoping, motorized carbon fiber pole, and a 1080P, self-illuminating, 10X optical zoom camera.

The telescoping, carbon fiber pole features a motorized articulation camera mount which is remotely controlled using the handle buttons or touchscreen controls on the wireless display. The articulation feature allows the camera head to pan, +/-120 degrees. Pole lengths available for ZistosHD motorized articulating, telescoping poles are 6ft (1.8m), 10ft (3m), 16ft (4.9m), 24 ft (7.3m), and 30 ft (9.1m). The articulation speed of the motorized assembly can be adjusted to best fit the nature of the search application. This is of benefit when it is necessary to slow down the camera pan function to conduct a detailed grid search for victims, or keeping quick articulation for rapid search assessments of a void space. The motorized head can be auto-centered by double tapping the center button on the control handle for ease of extraction from an insertion point.

The WPC-2.5Z-HD zoom camera has a 10 times optical zoom which does not lose ANY resolution when magnifying the image. This is unlike many of the search cameras on the market that utilize digital zoom functions. Digital zoom technology will lose resolution as soon as you begin to magnify the image. The 10X optical zoom camera option lets the technical search specialist magnify the smallest of details in the video image. This allows them to see and identify any subtle visual indicators of a trapped victim that may be otherwise missed using other video search systems.

When configured with a ZistosHD 10X Optical Zoom camera (WPC-2.5Z-HD) and Motorized Articulating Pole (HDP-MCXX) you get the perfect tool to assist operators in both rapid search assessments and methodical grid searches.

The system can also be configured with full communication capabilities that allow the operator to hear the subtle sounds of a victim and communicate back to them with audio. Multiple ZistosHD display tablets can be used to view the image from a single system. This allows members on the USAR team to view images in real-time that are related to a victim location operation.

Batteries are also a strong point for the ZistosHD systems. The rechargeable battery runtime for the system can last from 6-10 hours, and the systems include two batteries each.

In conclusion, a ZistosHD Victim Location System with a motorized pole and 10X optical zoom camera   has all of the features to maximize success in victim location operations. All ZistosHD systems are modular and systems are available that can be custom configured with different poles and camera technology to best fit the needs and budget of a USAR team.

5 Reasons to Use ZistosHD Rescue Tools

1.        High Capacity Batteries
2.        Motorized Articulation
3.        Low-Latency Video  
4.        Wide Array of Interchangeable Accessories
5.        Connectivity to External Networks

High Capacity Long-Lasting Batteries

Rescue teams are often positioned in out-of-the-way locations and in time-critical situations. Being able to quickly swap out a battery and know it will last for the duration of a much-needed rescue mission is vital. 

ZistosHD Rescue Systems all use long-lasting, rechargeable Smart Lithium-ion batteries. The Extended Capacity Battery (BAT-15XL) is included with all of the ZistosHD Rescue Systems. The BAT-15XL can typically run for 6-12 hours, depending on camera options and illumination settings. The battery also has an easily viewable, built-in five segment LCD charge level indicator, which displays the charge level even when it is not connected to the system.

Articulating Motorized Poles

Lightweight, easy-to-use rescue tools are essential for technical search teams. The ZistosHD telescoping poles offer the flexibility and durability needed for real-life conditions.  The HD motorized series are weatherproof, lightweight carbon fiber poles, which makes using them excellent for extended time, and in any environment. 

The ZistosHD motorized poles allow the operator to adjust the camera position remotely. This is important when the pole is extended and the camera is not accessible to the operator, or it is inserted into a collapsed structure or void space in rubble.

These poles terminate with an articulating camera mount and enable the operator to remotely rotate the camera to pan +/- 120°. The motion is controlled using the buttons on the HD Handle, or using the touch screen controls on the display. The operator can control zoom, video capture, illumination and more. The HD Poles use easy twist collars to expand and collapse, and are available in lengths from 3 to 30 feet. Unlike many existing articulating pole cameras, our camera has a specially designed slip-clutch that provides protection against damage to the motor assembly if the camera is forced backwards when in use.

Low-Latency Wireless Video Streaming

For rescue missions, low-latency video supports operations that require near real-time access to quickly changing conditions. Many other digital video systems are plagued by slow response that can create a delay of many seconds between the event and the viewable video image. The low-latency performance of the ZistosHD systems allows the video images to be viewable without a significant delay.

The system can also be utilized in a wired configuration when wireless operation is not feasible. The ZistosHD system will directly support up to three different wireless viewers concurrently. The encryption of the video stream helps ensure that sensitive information will not be intercepted by unauthorized parties. The system supports WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption for secure video transmission. It also can be configured for fully-wired operation for situations where wireless operation is not practical. The system’s video is also compatible with commonly used ATAK compliant external radios.

Wide Variety of Interchangeable System Options

ZistosHD’s modular design allows maximum flexibility for the rescue team in the field. One system can be configured to serve multiple applications, and added to as needs arise. Interchangeable poles — different types and lengths — can be paired with an array of camera technologies such as ultra low-light, 10X zoom, and dual mode thermal that generates both standard B/W video and thermal imaging. Maximizing the usefulness of a system also enables rescue departments to get the most from their investment in Zistos equipment. ZistosHD components are deliberately designed to be compatible with new and future system options.

External Network

Video images can be shared with others to view situations as they unfold in real-time, on multiple displays. Zistos offers an optional WiFi network bridge attachment, which enables multiple ZistosHD systems to be simultaneously viewed on a single computer via a common external network at a command location.

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