Tag Archives: camera

Zero grows a camera connector

via Raspberry Pi

When we launched Raspberry Pi Zero last November, it’s fair to say we were blindsided by the level of demand. We immediately sold every copy of MagPi issue 40 and every Zero in stock at our distributors; and every time a new batch of Zeros came through from the factory they’d sell out in minutes. To complicate matters, Zero then had to compete for factory space with Raspberry Pi 3, which was ramping for launch at the end of February.

Happily, Mike was able to take advantage of the resulting production hiatus to add the most frequently demanded “missing” feature to Zero: a camera connector. Through dumb luck, the same fine-pitch FPC connector that we use on the Compute Module Development Kit just fits onto the right hand side of the board, as you can see here.

Caption

Raspberry Pi Zero, now with added camera goodness

To connect the camera to the Zero, we offer a custom six-inch adapter cable. This converts from the fine-pitch connector format to the coarser pitch used by the camera board. Liz has a great picture of Mooncake, the official Raspberry Pi cat, attempting to eat the camera cable. She won’t let me use it in this post so that you aren’t distracted from the pictures of the new Zero itself. I’ve a feeling she’ll be tweeting it later today.

Cable

FPC adapter cable

To celebrate our having designed the perfect high altitude ballooning (HAB) controller, Dave Akerman will be launching a Zero, a camera and the new GPS+RTTY+LoRa radio board that he designed with Anthony Stirk, from a field in the Welsh Marches later today. You can follow along here and here, and in the meantime marvel at the Jony Ive-quality aesthetics of today’s payload.

Give me blue styrofoam and a place to stand...

Give me blue styrofoam and a place to stand…

You can buy Raspberry Pi Zero in Europe from our friends at The Pi Hut and Pimoroni, and in the US from Adafruit and in-store at your local branch of Micro Center. There are roughly 30,000 new Zeros out there today, and we’ll be making thousands more each day until demand is met.

The post Zero grows a camera connector appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

New 8-megapixel camera board on sale at $25

via Raspberry Pi

The 5-megapixel visible-light camera board was our first official accessory back in 2013, and it remains one of your favourite add-ons. They’ve found their way into a bunch of fun projects, including telescopes, kites, science lessons and of course the Naturebytes camera trap. It was soon joined by the Pi NoIR infrared-sensitive version, which not only let you see in the dark, but also opened the door to hyperspectral imaging hacks.

As many of you know, the OmniVision OV5647 sensor used in both boards was end-of-lifed at the end of 2014. Our partners both bought up large stockpiles, but these are now almost completely depleted, so we needed to do something new. Fortunately, we’d already struck up conversation with Sony’s image sensor division, and so in the nick of time we’re able to announce the immediate availability of both visible-light and infrared cameras based on the Sony IMX219 8-megapixel sensor, at the same low price of $25. They’re available today from our partners RS Components and element14, and should make their way to your favourite reseller soon.

Visible light camera v2

The visible light camera…

...and its infrared cousin

…and its infrared cousin

In our testing, IMX219 has proven to be a fantastic choice. You can read all the gory details about IMX219 and the Exmor R back-illuminated sensor architecture on Sony’s website, but suffice to say this is more than just a resolution upgrade: it’s a leap forward in image quality, colour fidelity and low-light performance.

VideoCore IV includes a sophisticated image sensor pipeline (ISP). This converts “raw” Bayer-format RGB input images from the sensor into YUV-format output images, while correcting for sensor and module artefacts such as thermal and shot noise, defective pixels, lens shading and image distortion. Tuning the ISP to work with a particular sensor is a time-consuming, specialist activity: there are only a handful of people with the necessary skills, and we’re very lucky that Naush Patuck, formerly of Broadcom’s imaging team, volunteered to take this on for IMX219.

Naush says:

Regarding the tuning process, I guess you could say the bulk of the effort went into the lens shading and AWB tuning. Apart from the fixed shading correction, our auto lens shading algorithm takes care of module to module manufacturing variations. AWB is tricky because we must ensure correct results over a large section of the colour temperature curve; in the case of the IMX219, we used images illuminated by light sources from 1800K [very “cool” reddish light] all the way up to 16000K [very “hot” bluish light].

The goal of auto white balance (AWB) is to recover the “true” colours in a scene regardless of the colour temperature of the light illuminating it: filming a white object should result in white pixels in sunlight, or under LED, fluorescent or incandescent lights. You can see from these pairs of before and after images that Naush’s tune does a great job under very challenging conditions.

AWB with high colour temperature

AWB at higher colour temperature

AWB at lower colour temperature

AWB at lower colour temperature

As always, we’re indebted to a host of people for their help getting these products out of the door. Dave Stevenson and James Hughes (hope you and Elaine are having a great honeymoon, James!) wrote most of our camera platform code. Mike Stimson designed the board (his second Raspberry Pi product after Zero). Phil Holden, Shinichi Goseki, Qiang Li and many others at Sony went out of their way to help us get access to the information Naush needed to tune the ISP.

We’re really happy with the way the new camera board has turned out, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it. Head over to RS Components or element14 to pick one up today.

The post New 8-megapixel camera board on sale at $25 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Slap my zombie hand for internet fame!

via Arduino Blog

zombie02

Halloween time is a great moment to explore nice interactive projects and get inspired for installations for other selfie occasions. To spice up the office Donnie Plumly, a creative technologist, decided to make and share with us a molded zombie arm that takes pictures and post them to Twitter.

zombie03

He used a silicone arm (molded on his own hand ), a custom steel mount to clip to an office partition, and a vibration sensor hooked up to an Arduino Uno. Once the arm is slapped a photo will be taken using an IR Led and passed to the Eye-Fi card in the camera.

The photo is then saved into a Dropbox folder and, using If This Then That (IFTTT), posted to Twitter on the account @ZombieSelfie.

zombie

Donnie created also a very useful tutorial  on Instructable to make it yourself!

zombie04

Rocket launch footage from an onboard Pi

via Raspberry Pi

From rocket launchers to high altitude ballooning to Sonic Pi space music to Astro Pi, much of the Raspberry Pi community is excited by the idea of exploring beyond our Blue Marble. We think you’ll enjoy this video from a Pi camera belonging to Portland State Aerospace Society, who launched a rocket from the Oregon desert last month. When I first watched it, it brought the whole of the Raspberry Pi Foundation to my desk in seconds, something even Krispy Kreme doesn’t reliably accomplish.

The video was captured by one of two Raspberry Pis aboard the rocket, both with cameras set up to stream live footage; the streaming seems to have been succcessful, even though the viewing angle for part of the video above wasn’t quite as planned.

You’ll find plenty of technical information in PSAS’ GitHub repository for this launch, and enthusiasts will be interested to know that they’ve promised more telemetry data over the next several months. There’s also an excellent gallery of launch photos taken from the ground, including the moment of lift-off from a more conventional viewpoint.

The post Rocket launch footage from an onboard Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Naturebytes wildlife cam kit

via Raspberry Pi

Liz: The wildlife cam kit has landed. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know we’ve been following the Naturebytes team’s work with great interest; we think there’s massive potential for bringing nature to life for kids and for adults with a bit of smart computing. Digital making for nature is here.

Naturebytes is a tiny organisation, but it’s made up of people whose work you’ll recognise if you follow Raspberry Pi projects closely; they’ve worked with bodies like the Horniman Museum, who have corals to examine; and with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Pis watching for rhino poachers in Kenya? Pis monitoring penguins in Antarctica? People on the Naturebytes team have worked on those projects, and have a huge amount of experience in wildlife observation with the Pi. They’ve also worked closely with educators and with kids on this Kickstarter offering, making sure that what they’re doing fits perfectly with what nature-lovers want. 

Today’s guest post is from Naturebytes’ Alasdair Davies. Good luck with the Kickstarter, folks: we’re incredibly excited about the potential of what you’re doing, and we think lots of other people will be too.

We made it! (quite literally). Two years after first being supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Education Fund and the awesome folk over at Nesta, we finally pressed the big red button and went into orbit by launching the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit – now available via Kickstarter.
1
This is the kit that will fuel our digital making for nature vision – a community of Raspberry Pi enthusiasts using the Pi to help monitor, count, and conserve wildlife; and have a hell of a lot of fun learning how to code and hack their cam kits to do so much more – yes, you can even set it up to take chicken selfies.

We’ve designed it for a wide range of audiences, whether you’re a beginner, an educator, or a grandma who just wants to capture photos of the bird species in the garden and share them with her grandchildren – there’s something for everyone.

2

This was the final push for the small team of three over at Naturebytes HQ. A few badgers, 2,323 coffees, 24 foxes,  and a Real Time Clock later, we signed off the prototype cam kit last week, and are proud of what we’ve achieved thanks to the support of the Raspberry Pi Foundation that assisted us in getting there.

We also get the very privileged opportunity of appearing in this follow-up guest blog, and my, how things have changed since our first appearance back in September 2014. We thought we’d take you on a quick tour to show you what we’ve changed on the kit since then, and to share the lessons learnt during our R&D, before ending with a look at some of the creative activities people have suggested the kit be used for. Suggest your own in the comments, and please do share our Kickstarter far and wide so we can get the kits into the hands of as many people as possible.

Then and now – the case.

Our earlier prototype was slick and thin, with a perspex back. Once we exposed it to the savages of British weather, we soon had to lock down the hatches and toughen up the hinges to create the version you see today. The bird feeder arm was also reinforced and a clip on mechanism added for easy removal – just one of the lessons learnt when trialing and testing.

The final cam kit case:

3

The final cam kit features:

4

5
Schools and Resources

A great deal of our development time has focused on the creation of a useful website back end and resource packs for teacher and educators. For Naturebytes to be a success we knew from the start that we’d need to support teachers wishing to deliver activities, and it’s paramount to us that we get this right. In doing so, we tagged along with the Foundation’s Picademy to understand the needs of teachers and to create resources that will be both helpful and accessible.

Print your own

We’ve always wanted to make it as easy as possible for experienced digital makers to join in, so the necessary 3D print files will now be released as open source assets. For those with their own Pi, Pi cam and custom components, we’ve created a developer’s kit too that contains everything you need to finish a printed version of the cam kit (note – it won’t be waterproof if you 3D print it yourself).

6
You can get the Developer’s Kit on Kickstarter.

The Experience

7

Help us develop a fantastic experience for Naturebytes users. We hope to make a GUI and customised Raspbian OS to help users get the most from the cam kit.

It’s not much fun if you can’t share your wildlife sightings with others, so we’re looking at how to build an experience on the Pi itself. It will most likely be in the form of a Python GUI that boots at startup with a modified Raspbian OS to theme up the desktop. Our end goal is the creation of what we are calling “Fantastic Fox” – a simple-to-use Raspbian OS with pre-loaded software and activities together with a simple interface to submit your photos etc. This will be a community-driven build, so if you want to help with its, development please contact us and we’ll get you on board.

Creative activities

This is where the community aspect of Naturebytes comes into play. As everyone’s starting with the same wildlife cam kit, whether you get the full complete kit from us or print your own, there are a number of activities to get you started. Here are just a few of the ones we love:

Participate in an official challenge

We’ll be hosting challenges for the whole community. Join us on a hedgehog hunt (photo hunt!) together with hundreds of others, and upload your sightings for the entire community to see. There will be hacking challenges to see who can keep their cams powered the longest, and even case modification design competitions too.

Identify another school’s species (from around the globe!)

Hook up a WiFi connection and you’ll be able to share your photos on the internet. This means that a school in Washington DC could pair up with a school in Rochdale and swap their photos once a day. An exciting opportunity to connect to other schools globally, and discover wildlife that you thought you may never encounter by peeking into the garden of school a long way away.

Build a better home (for wildlife)

It’s not just digital making that you can get your hands into. Why not build a garden residence for the species that you most want to attract, and use the camera to monitor if they moved in (or just visited to inspect)? A great family project, fuelled by the excitement of discovering that someone, or something, liked what you build for them.

Stamp the weather on it

There’s an official Raspberry Pi weather station that we love – in fact, we were one of the early beta testers and have always wanted to incorporate it into Naturebytes. A great activity would be connecting to the weather station to receive a snapshot of data and stamping that on to the JPEG of the photo your camera just created. Then you’ll have an accurate weather reading together with your photo!

Time-lapse a pond, tree or wild space

It’s fantastic to look through a year’s worth of photographic data within 60 seconds. Why not take a look at the species visiting your pond, tree or a wild space near you by setting up a time-lapse and comparing it with other Naturebytes users near you?

We’d love to hear your ideas for collaborative projects – please leave a note in the comments if you’ve got something to add!

 

The post Naturebytes wildlife cam kit appeared first on Raspberry Pi.