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05-17-2016, 01:11 AM - 1 Like   #1
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DIY - $5 Digital Camera and $5 Computer

The Raspberry Pi Zero gains camera support. You can now add a Sony digital camera to a Raspberry Pi Zero board - add a bit of software (Linux for free) and you too can be your very own camera system.


05-17-2016, 08:17 AM   #2
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Ehhhhhh, not quite. First, you need to buy the camera module, which is $25 or so. Second, the camera cable for the Pi Zero is incompatible with the camera cable used for every other Pi model, so there's another $5. Third, this comes with no way to interface with it, short of hooking it up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, so you'd have to make your own interface. This can be very expensive in time, money, or both.

The biggest issue, though, is that the lens on the camera body is fixed-focus and quite difficult to modify; one person who has experience with modifying the lenses on the old camera module damaged several modules trying to fix a focus problem with the first batch of new camera modules.

In short, while this is a cool thing to happen, trying to make a decent digital camera out of this is a fool's errand.
05-18-2016, 02:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The Raspberry Pi Zero gains camera support. You can now add a Sony digital camera to a Raspberry Pi Zero board - add a bit of software (Linux for free) and you too can be your very own camera system
.Raspberry Pi Zero gains camera support, keeps the $5 price
Do you actually know anything about the Raspberry Pi family?This was the first I am aware of it, so I guess I need to do more research - it might be a fun "toy" for someone like me {I'm a retired software engineer}. It seems to be the latest of a series of inexpensive "computers" coming from the U.K. intended to support the teaching of computer-related skills. Apparently it is normally programming in Python, a language which enables people to do many things, but not necessarily very efficiently. The "camera" may be made by Sony, but you should be thinking industrial applications, not A7.
05-18-2016, 07:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Do you actually know anything about the Raspberry Pi family?This was the first I am aware of it, so I guess I need to do more research - it might be a fun "toy" for someone like me {I'm a retired software engineer}. It seems to be the latest of a series of inexpensive "computers" coming from the U.K. intended to support the teaching of computer-related skills. Apparently it is normally programming in Python, a language which enables people to do many things, but not necessarily very efficiently. The "camera" may be made by Sony, but you should be thinking industrial applications, not A7.
I too am a software engineer (embedded real time) that will be retiring in a couple of months (I started with the Intel 4004). I have not worked directly with the pi, but with lots of single board computers (SBC) for lots of various applications. There are quite a few of development environments available supporting it.

Yes, the setup is more oriented to industrial applications - but it's really limited by your imagination....



05-18-2016, 08:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I too am a software engineer (embedded real time) that will be retiring in a couple of months (I started with the Intel 4004). I have not worked directly with the pi, but with lots of single board computers (SBC) for lots of various applications. There are quite a few of development environments available supporting it.

Yes, the setup is more oriented to industrial applications - but it's really limited by your imagination....

You touched on a very important point here. I did some embedded programming, but only because an experienced guy like you wasn't immediately available; for example, I programmed part of a prototype for a lab machine that would take a picture {using a camera similar to the one for the Pi} of a piece of filter paper and figure out the best place to punch out a spot of blood for future testing; as a prototype, this had no serious time constraints. Embedded programming is a specialty, so "anyone" {who knows or can learn Python} could do it, but getting good tight code that gets the job done on time might be iffy for someone who has never had to do it before, which is why I was never hired to do it full-time. My guess is that this system would be fun to "play" with, but I wouldn't count on having something that is actually useful.
05-19-2016, 06:02 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
You touched on a very important point here. I did some embedded programming, but only because an experienced guy like you wasn't immediately available; for example, I programmed part of a prototype for a lab machine that would take a picture {using a camera similar to the one for the Pi} of a piece of filter paper and figure out the best place to punch out a spot of blood for future testing; as a prototype, this had no serious time constraints. Embedded programming is a specialty, so "anyone" {who knows or can learn Python} could do it, but getting good tight code that gets the job done on time might be iffy for someone who has never had to do it before, which is why I was never hired to do it full-time. My guess is that this system would be fun to "play" with, but I wouldn't count on having something that is actually useful.
What I see as important here is that for a few dollars, you can get some pretty reasonable functional hardware, that couples very easily with essentially open source software that is known to just about anyone / everyone. Easy and cheap to promote experimentation with. Designing and building in Python is excellent, pretty easy and fast. Once you have things working, then you can determine the important areas that can be optimized or rehosted or refactored. Very similar to designing algorithms in Matlab, then have it generate the optimized production code. A number of satellite control system have been produced this way.

Actually, some cheap satellites - called cubesats, that are essentially smart phones packaged up in a standard small flight box have been put into orbit, with some specialized sensors (based on the intended application) glued on to the front end. Having a standard hardware package that a lot of folks are familiar with, lots of known software packages / utilities being available (essentially plug and play) is critical to motivating a large group of folks thinking in very innovative ways. That produces new ideas, products and services.

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