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Creators of Raspberry Pi computer announce $25 camera module

By dpreview staff on Feb 6, 2013 at 19:46 GMT

The makers of Raspberry Pi - the popular low-cost computer - have announced the development of a new camera module, expected to cost $25. Since the first version of Raspberry Pi was released early last year, more than half a million of the low-cost boards have been sold to eager enthusiasts all over the world. The low cost of the Pi means that it has enormous potential in education, but experienced 'homebrew' computer enthusiasts have also embraced the credit card-sized computer, putting it to use doing everything from running video games to powering a voice-activated coffee machine (yes, really).

The forthcoming $25 camera module for the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer could open up new possibilities for students and homebrew computer enthusiasts alike. 

Details on the forthcoming camera module are vague, but it is expected to offer at least 5MP resolution and the ability to capture HD video, and will almost certainly use this BSI-CMOS sensor from OmniVision. According to a short article on wired.com, proposed applications include robotics, home automation and 'aerial applications where potential crashes favor low-cost solutions'. Well quite...

What would you create with a credit card-sized computer and camera module? Let us know in the comments (and keep it clean).   

Via wired.com

Comments

Total comments: 31
amooz
By amooz (Feb 11, 2013)

Attach the camera module to some servo's so it can pan and tilt, with a medium lens (85mm equiv). It should be light enough to put nearly anywhere. Load up some face tracking software, load a profile for the brides face, and put them around the venue for lots of unique angles for video, pictures. Heck, you could even probably put such a device behind the alter for some really unique shots. So much potential with these! Give them a wifi module, put an assistant in the back of the room with a laptop and a feed from each camera to monitor/take control and presto, instant 10-man video crew being controlled by one person; capturing everything.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
hc44
By hc44 (Feb 10, 2013)

Would make a good wedding camera.

0 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (Feb 8, 2013)

I am old so I would glue one to my head so I know where I left my keys or did I take my pills that day. Sounds wonderful. Life is good.

0 upvotes
mrdancer
By mrdancer (Feb 7, 2013)

I'd build a custom intervalometer (it's amazing how few cameras have such a useful device!) and a continuous-loop PVR if video is available. I have an interest in remote R/C aerial photography and this is a great stepping stone. The biggest obstacle that remains is resolution (done thru good lenses or possibly multiple cameras, Beowulf-style). It is difficult for these little cameras to get good resolution of something on the ground from 500 feet up in the air.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Feb 8, 2013)

Check out CHDK for Canon PowerShot cameras. It gives you an intervalometer, and you can use it on many of the (very) cheap previous generation PowerShots on ebay, you know, the 7 and 8 megapixel cameras that go for $60. Also, it works on newer PowerShots, if you want to go in that direction.

I wonder along with you why an intervalometer isn't standard on more cameras. It seems almost like a throw-in on the software, like art filters. Ridiculous that more cameras don't have it.

1 upvote
andy amos
By andy amos (Feb 7, 2013)

So is there anybody with an old 35mm point and shoot prepared to rip out the insides and squeeze this combo in to produce the World's first digital camera that makes coffe!

1 upvote
Raincheck
By Raincheck (Feb 7, 2013)

What would I make with a credit-card sized computer/camera... ... I'd make a credit-card that would keep an eye on the waitress and bartender while they have it back in that little room. It could also monitor the cash in my wallet, and watch all the other credit-cards as well. If my wallet is ever stolen, it could look around at where it is, then phone into the Police telling them where to send the squad cars.

0 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (Feb 7, 2013)

The DIY D400 is here at last! and the choice of case is entirely up to you.

0 upvotes
Dubcat
By Dubcat (Feb 7, 2013)

In car constant recording device recording the last few hours of driving constantly to deal with dirtbags who drive in to you and then claim it wasn't their fault thereby messing up your insurance.

Why not buy a device to do that off the shelf for a similar amount? Because this would then also be used to double up as an in-car divx player to keep the kids happy and an mp3 player to keep me happy.

Oh and to top it all, I would connect an ODB-II connector to it to monitor the car and look for faults reported by the management system.

2 upvotes
Raincheck
By Raincheck (Feb 7, 2013)

What a great idea! When you think about it, with all the dirtbags out there doing wrong, we could put this device basically everywhere! Thereby insuring that no one ever does anything wrong ever again! Call it something like: "Older, wiser Brother"!

1 upvote
Dubcat
By Dubcat (Feb 8, 2013)

With optional laser turret :)

0 upvotes
johanncoet
By johanncoet (Feb 16, 2013)

I live in South Korea.

Here this concept is already a huge market with various local companies offering cheep "Black Boxes" as they call it for your car.

Most of them continuously records full HD and they also have sensors that can detect the slightest bumps. They also come with wifi/bluetooth features to connect with your smartphone.

Insurance companies even give discounts on your insurance plan if you install one.

It's a big thing over here. Wish I could have thought of it 10 years ago.

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Feb 6, 2013)

I'll build a camera that only takes pictures of me dog!!!

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Feb 8, 2013)

I'll sell you one.

Oh wait, mine only takes pictures of my cat.

1 upvote
pictureAngst
By pictureAngst (Feb 6, 2013)

I'm going to glue the camera module to my camera's EVF so it can see what I'm pointing the camera at, then wire up the Pi to control all shooting aspects.

I'm then going to devise a 'decisive moments' mode which detect men jumping over puddles, kids at odd juxtapositions, etc., at which point it will apply 'grainy monochrome' effect, introduce subtle focus imperfections, turn off stabilisation, and set the shutter speed to 5/equivalent focal length for that human touch to the image. Then all I have to do is walk down urban streets twirling the setup around my head, and outrun the youths who suddenly an interest in photography too.

If this works out, my follow-on project will be a 'Helmut Newton' mode. I'll have to be more selective using that one though - no matter how advanced the post-capture manipulation is, not everyone can be made to look good in a skintight rubber shark suit.

4 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 6, 2013)

I'm going to create a home-brew derivative of google's project glass. Only mine will be called "Project Darth Vader helmet"

4 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Feb 6, 2013)

Is the lens hood standard, or do you have to pay extra to get one?

2 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (Feb 6, 2013)

lol
I want teleconverters as well. What MM thread for filters? Tripod mount? If no blinding flash it will fail ;)

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 6, 2013)

The lens is supplied by Olympus and the hood will cost $99.

0 upvotes
W Sanders
By W Sanders (Feb 6, 2013)

If you don't like the lens hood, you'll really be unhappy with the bokeh.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Feb 6, 2013)

I'll see your voice-activated coffee machine and raise you one: a coffee machine that understands ASL!!!

Seriously, beyond the obvious (remote surveillance/security, merely adding webcam-type applications to a pocketable student computer, semi-autonomous robotics), I'm seeing cool new bootstrapped approaches to assistive technologies. That may be somewhat idealistic, but then the kids who are gaining access to amazingly powerful tech at laughably small prices these days tend to be somewhat idealistic as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see something literally world-changing for a lot of people coming out of science fair projects over the next couple of years.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 6, 2013)

Sorry but the coffee machine was programmed by a bulgarian engineer and it only understands bulgarian. And the display information comes in bulgarian too, in cyrillic characters to boot.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Feb 8, 2013)

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Coffee.html

Linux computers have been making coffee for years.

0 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Feb 6, 2013)

I'd rather the BeagleBone, I'm sure a CameraCape is under development. The RPi is too "closed" for my liking.

0 upvotes
John Szeto
By John Szeto (Feb 6, 2013)

They combined several hundred cell phones cameras to make a super resolution spy camera for the drone aircraft. Maybe ten of these cheap $25 cameras can be combined to make a high resolution unit for home use?

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Feb 8, 2013)

You know, this isn't a bad idea. I thought once of buying a bunch of cheap used compact cameras on ebay to mount to a board for high-resolution photography. The only problem I see with using this unit for that kind of project is getting a preview. With the compacts you could see the preview and adjust camera angle so that you knew the photo could be stitched.

0 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (Feb 6, 2013)

I would mount it somewhere surreptitiously to catch bike thefts at my college.

0 upvotes
immutability
By immutability (Feb 6, 2013)

I hope the optics won't be glued to the chip as a single module... I can imagine interesting projects for macro photography, digitizing 8mm film, etc...

0 upvotes
Trollshavethebestcandy
By Trollshavethebestcandy (Feb 6, 2013)

If its not a FF Leica with faster than f1.4 lenses it is crap and should be destroyed
EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE
How dare the unwashed masses think they can compose and capture images! Savages!

8 upvotes
sportyaccordy
By sportyaccordy (Feb 6, 2013)

Will be funny to hear the purists tear this down. I think it's a great idea.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Feb 6, 2013)

As a purist I must say my brain has swollen while reading the "voice-activated coffee machine" part of this article, so I'm waiting until the swell disappears before I comment. However, I'd say I generally agree with Trollshavethebestcandy's comment.
When I fully recover I'm also going to do the maths in order to calculate the "equivalent aperture" of this camera, so I can understand how it measures against full frame in terms of field of view - a problem that has been consuming me since Olympus announced the OM-D E-M5. And also the equivalent bokeh. And the equivalent ISO, too. And the equivalent shutter lag and battery life as well.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 31