Performance testing Firefox OS on reference devices

A while back I wrote about the LEGO harness I created for Eideticker to hold both the device and camera in place. Since then there has been a couple of iterations of the harness. When we started testing against our low-cost prototype device, the harness needed modifying due to the size difference and position of the USB socket. At this point I tried to create a harness that would fit all of our current devices, with the hope of avoiding another redesign.

Eideticker harness v2.0 If you’re interested in creating one of these yourself, here’s the LEGO Digital Designer file and building guide.

Unfortunately, when I first got my hands on our reference device (codenamed ‘Flame’) it didn’t fit into the harness. I had to go back to the drawing board, and needed to be a little more creative due to the width not matching up too well with the dimensions of LEGO bricks. In the end I used some slope bricks (often used for roof tiles) to hold the device securely. A timelapse video of constructing the latest harness follows.

 

 

We now are 100% focused on testing against our reference device, so in London we have two dedicated to running our Eideticker tests, as shown in the photo below.

Eideticker harness for FlameAgain, if you want to build one of these for yourself, download the LEGO Digital Designer file and building guide. If you want to learn more about the Eideticker project check out the project page, or if you want to see the dashboard with the latest results, you can find it here.

Building a harness for Eideticker… with LEGO

Since July, I’ve started to get involved with the Eideticker project, which aims to measure response times and frame rates for both Firefox for Android and Firefox OS. I’ve mostly been involved with the Firefox OS work, which involves pointing a camera at a mobile device while tests run, and then processing the captured video.

Eideticker components
All the components including the prototype phone case before I started building the replacement.

One of the frustrating challenges is setting up the device and camera so they’re suitably positioned for the capture. The camera has a standard tripod mount, so we’ve been using the awesome Gorillapod, but the devices we’re using don’t have many compatible stands. So, seeing as I am a bit of a LEGO fanatic, I decided to see if I could build a suitable harness in my spare time.

An initial prototype for holding the phone didn’t take me too long to put together – and worked really well – so I decided to use LEGO’s Pick-A-Brick service to order all the parts I needed to build it without using parts from my own supply.

Complete prototype of Eideticker harness
Complete prototype of the Eideticker harness.

Other than unexpectedly finding two tiny white cupboard drawers(!) in my Pick-A-Brick order, the new case was perfect! A prototype for holding the PointGrey camera in place also didn’t take too long to put together once I’d worked out the ideal distance from the phone and height.

Once again I used the Lego Digital Designer to create a more polished version, and went to the Pick-A-Brick service to order the parts. These arrived just today, so I put together the final version. As you may notice from the photo of the complete prototype I had been using blu-tack to fix the camera in place, however for the final version I glued a 2×2 flat tile to the tripod mount that came with the camera.

Final version of Eideticker harness
Final version of Eideticker harness.

This was the only irreversible part of the build, so I was a little nervous about doing it. I first sanded the surface of the tile so had more surface area, applied a small amount of glue to the tripod mount, and pressed the tile into place. Of course if it had gone wrong, I would only have needed to order a new tripod mount – obviously I would not recommend gluing anything directly to the camera!

If you’re interested in seeing Eideticker in action and you happen to be attending the Mozilla Summit in Brussels then I will be taking the harness with me for demonstrations. If you’re interested in building the harness for yourself, the following resources will be helpful:

Also, here’s a few more photos and screenshots of the Lego Digital Designer creations. All photos were taken with my ZTE Open running Firefox OS: