A battery-powered portable instrument for research on the aerodynamics of bird flight has been built to automatically measure and record the horizontal and vertical angles at which a video camera is pointed as an operator videotapes a soaring bird. Each angle was measured to a precision of about 20 arc seconds or better. Two complete systems were constructed, and a triangulation method was used so the same bird in flight could be videotaped by two cameras at different locations to establish the radius vectors from an origin to the bird. The angle information was generated by rotary transducers attached to the camera mounts, and the angle values along with timing data were stored in the semiconductor memory of a single-board computer. The equipment has been successfully tested in the field and promises to have a wider application where a portable instrument is required to measure angles to high precision.
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