Recently I’ve seen some activity about tiny cameras for makers, including Linux based SinoVoIP BPI-D1 recording up to 720p30 videos, and an upcoming mini camera for VoCore Wi-Fi module. There’s now another project called OpenMV, and open source camera for machine vision applications based on STMicro STM32, recording up to VGA resolution at 20 fps, and controlled using Micro Python scripts.
- MCU – STM32F427, 180MHz, 225 DMIPS, 256K SRAM, 2M Flash, DMA/FPU/DSP/DCMI/SDIO/2D Acceleration
- Camera – 2MP OV2640 sensor with interchangeable M12 lens, 2x IR LEDS
- Storage – uSD interface: SDIO (4-bit mode)
- Expansions – 2x headers with USART, SPI, I2C, PWM, ADC/DAC, GPIOs, PWM and power signals
- USB – micro USB 2.0 Full Speed port
- Power Supply – 5V via USB; Current draw is approximately 140mA, steady state
- Dimensions – 4.57 x 3.56 cm
The camera can be controlled using (Micro) Python scripts. with the project’s OpenMV IDE, currently available on Windows and Linux, with a Mac OS port coming soon. It can be used in standalone mode, or interface with another board (Arduino) as slave or master.
Some possible applications include:
- Face detection – Send a picture when someone ring the bell at your door
- Marker Detection – Detects a sign on an object
- Color detection – Sort M&M’s by colors;
- Landing zone detection – For your drone;
- Record video
- Time lapse – For security, science, fun, etc…
- Control Pan/Tilt servos to track objects / faces
- Machine vision education
What you would probably not do is use it as an action camera, or take your holiday shot, as performance is limited to VGA resolution, and lower whem machine vision algorithms kick in.
Many crowdfunding projects claim to be “open source” during funding, but have nothing to show up it. Contrary to many other projects, OpenMV has already released firmware, the IDE, and as well as schematics and PCB layout in Cadsoft Eagle format, and 3D printer files for an enclosure on the project’s github repo. Shields are also in the works (WiFi, LCD, and a low resolution infrared), but those will only be available after the Kickstarter campaign.
Bot Thoughts (that’s the name of the company) is looking to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to fund mass production, and with 22 days to go, they are almost there, so the project will go ahead. A pledge of $55 will get you OpenMV shipped by USPS Priority/USPS Priority International to anywhere in the world, and you can also select perks with several OpenMV cameras to get a better deal. Delivery is scheduled for August 2015.
Thanks to Anthony for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.