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Author Topic: project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)  (Read 609 times)

DaveSharp

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project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)
« on: February 07, 2015, 02:13:03 PM »
 I was hoping somebody here would be able to help me. I got a good deal on an Intel Edison + Mini Breakout Kit from Sparkfun for Black Friday. I had all kinds of ideas for projects but now that I have it, I am feeling rather uninspired. Basically I think it seems really cool on the surface, but the only high-speed interface it has is USB. Unless you count wifi, I suppose. If you just want to twiddle GPIOs or turn on LEDs then that?s easy enough using an 8-bit microcontroller (or anything, really). The need for real processing power, at least for me, tends to come from needing to process large amounts of data which, surprise surprise, requires a high-bandwidth interface. Sure, you could hook up a USB webcam, but for me that almost defeats the purpose of using such a tiny processing board to begin with (adapters, hubs, blah blah ? before you know it it?s bigger than a full-sized Raspberry Pi), and USB sucks for cameras anyway. Using a dual-core Intel Atom just because it has both GPIOs and wifi seems a little silly too. So yeah, basically I?m regretting my purchase now that I want to actually do something with it.

I?m thinking about getting a Raspberry Pi Model A+. I like that it?s pretty small and light-weight (23g, vs the 16g for the Edison mounted to the Mini Breakout Kit), plus it has a CSI camera port with a known camera and working drivers. Lack of wifi is the only real thing missing, and not a dealbreaker for me. I want to do some things with OpenCV, and having a small camera (no bulky USB cables etc) with a real camera interface rather than clunky USB seems much cleaner to me. And all starting at ~$20.

So, some questions:
- Edison: Anyone have any awesome ideas for what to do with an Edison + Mini Breakout Kit? I?d like to at least put this thing into service somewhere rather than shelve it forever. There HAS to be a good use for it, but I haven?t found one yet. I may end up just doing the USB webcam thing because I can't think of anything else.
- Raspberry Pi with camera: anybody used the camera before, ideally with something like OpenCV? I will likely make an adapter for S-mount lenses to give me more options, as I've done before on some other cameras in machine vision applications. Is it a pain to code for on the Pi? I gather that you need to use their Mali (or whatever) GPU but am not sure how involved that is. I want to be able to capture images at, say, 20-30 fps (color not necessarily important) and process them. But my free time is valuable ? beyond the usual OpenCV stuff, how much setup is there going to have to be to get frames off the camera? Can I control things myself (turning off auto-exposure settings etc) if I need to, or am I stuck with all auto settings? Is this a huge sinkhole of time?
Any thoughts/help appreciated. Thanks!

-Dave

willasaywhat

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Re: project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 08:58:08 PM »
I don't have direct feedback for you... but I know who you need to talk to! :)


For the Edison, you might talk to CNR(Conner Brooks) as he was recently on an internship working with the Edison at Microsoft.


For Raspberry Pi OpenCV, definitely talk to macrutan (Mac Rutan) as he recently ran a workshop on doing just that -- Raspberry Pi camera module + OpenCV. (I really want to tinker with this stuff, too. I did OpenCV in Python awhile back and loved it.)


Hope that helps!

DaveSharp

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Re: project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 09:29:09 PM »
Thanks for the tips, sounds like a great bunch of resources around!

keithj69

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Re: project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 09:50:05 AM »
Quote
- Raspberry Pi with camera: anybody used the camera before, ideally with something like OpenCV? I will likely make an adapter for S-mount lenses to give me more options, as I've done before on some other cameras in machine vision applications. Is it a pain to code for on the Pi? I gather that you need to use their Mali (or whatever) GPU but am not sure how involved that is. I want to be able to capture images at, say, 20-30 fps (color not necessarily important) and process them. But my free time is valuable ? beyond the usual OpenCV stuff, how much setup is there going to have to be to get frames off the camera? Can I control things myself (turning off auto-exposure settings etc) if I need to, or am I stuck with all auto settings? Is this a huge sinkhole of time?
Any thoughts/help appreciated. Thanks!

-Dave

I have been using https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=63276 on my raspi for about a year now as a security camera.  It is painfully easy to setup and just works.  I am not sure if it is exactly what you are looking for, but it is worth looking at.  I have it running on a raspi b wirelessly connected.  I wasn't using the built in features as it was connected to ispy. (my ispy server died).

DaveSharp

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Re: project advice (camera + processor in small form factor)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 09:15:04 PM »
Thanks for the comments. I have since gotten a Pi 2 and a Pi Model A+. Haven't had much time for anything lately but I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly things went. I was able to get OpenCV built and working following tutorials online without any issues, and got the camera working using a freely available library that makes using the Camera Module easy in OpenCV. I was able to get frame rates that are likely far higher than would be easily doable than with using a webcam (at least based on past experience).


I also got an aftermarket pi-compatible camera that came with an S-mount (often called M12). It works just the same as the other but allows you to do things like adjust the focus, or buy cheap lenses with tighter or wider field-of-view, critical for some applications where the uber-tiny Camera Module lens just physically don't do the job.


As for the Edison, I don't know if I'll ever make the time to use it. Time is too short and there are too many cool things I want to do to bother, I guess!


Thanks again for the tips!