Hacking The Roundshot VR Drive

DISCLAIMER: This is a fun DIY project. I would not recommend /yet/ using your phone for serious work nor this setup is light (as Nodal Ninja Mini PanoHead). It is a proof of concept that VR Drive can trigger a Phone while executing automated tasks.

Roundshot VR Drive is one of the best/ most advanced robotic panoramic heads on the market and WHY one would need to hack it?! For a long time I had the idea to be able to use my smart phone with this motorized panoramic head. What is the problem you would ask? The main one is triggering the phone to make a photo at the exact moment the robohead has stopped moving. One could use the Photo Sphere panoramic mode of Google Camera app, but it would need a lot of trial and error. And this could only work for "regular" spherical panos. Imagine you need to make a partial or gigapixel panorama, you could use 2 remote controls- one for phone, the other for the robot. But that would not be fun... So it has to be automatic. And WHY would someone put a phone on such a precise panoramic head - there are cameras for that? For the sake of fun and not only- phones are getting better and better at taking photos!
I found all the parts and it was time for an experiment. One needs old headphones, a soldering iron, bluetooth remote control (YUNTENG in my case), a multimeter, a lighter and a mock-up knife.

All needed:

Remove the screws and open the bt remote:

I chose the "-" side button, but any could work. One should find such position that has no electrical resistance when the key is NOT pressed and has such when pressed.
This doesn't work:

This as well:

Ok, this one looks fine:

From the wiring schematics of a male stereo jack we see that we need to cut and use the LEFT ear plug, as it is same as shutter- we don't need focus.

With the lighter we burn the ends and solder them to the remote:

Make a small cut with the knife so the cable can go out:

And here is the final hack:

My adaptation goes a bit futher as I use a MiniDIN-4 to female stereo jack cable, which becomes universal, as you can plug a remote control to anything which you want to trigger with VR Drive, as far as it has a stereo jack.
Examples of the setup as well as example panoramas are at the gallery down.
I have made a full 360/180 panorama (see gallery down) as well as a partial "gigapixel"like panorama. Both worked well.

If you like virtuals tours, check some 360 panoramas: HERE
Gigapixel panos can be seen: HERE
If you want to learn how I make gigapixel panos, read HERE