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On Demo, a $25 1080p Camera Module For Raspberry Pi 101

Posted by timothy
from the for-your-car-black-box dept.
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a new add-on – a camera module that will enable the credit card sized computer to snap pictures as well as record 1080p videos. Showcased by RS Components at the Elecontrica 2012 in Germany [watch video here] the £16 (apprx) module will be equipped with a 5MP sensor and will plug into the otherwise unused CSI pins of the Pi. The camera module's board is still in prototype stage and is expected to reach production sometime soon. Liz Upton, Executive Director of the Foundation said in a blog post, 'We've a (very) little way to go before we're able to send it out to manufacture.' According to Upton, testing slots have been booked in December to check on electromagnetic radiations from the ribbon cable."
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On Demo, a $25 1080p Camera Module For Raspberry Pi

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  • by dryriver (1010635) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:14PM (#42075827)
    Its funny that just a few years back, the very first digital 1080P HD film cameras used by George Lucas and others cost well over 100,000 Dollars a piece to buy - without any (just as expensive) lenses included in that price. Now a cheap 25 Dollar addon to Raspberry Pi can do 1080P video capture. My my, how quickly technology advances these days...
    • by PIBM (588930)

      Economy of scale.

      Beside, I'm pretty sure that the captors used on those cameras are still much higher quality than what 25$ will get you.

    • Um...the quality of the videos this produces would not even by close to what a 100k film camera produces.

      Resolution != image quality

    • by Russ1642 (1087959)
      Yeah. I was on a movie set the other day and all the cameramen were using only their iPhones. Oh wait, that was at a kids indoor soccer game.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah. I was on a movie set the other day and all the cameramen were using only their iPhones. Oh wait, that was at a kids indoor soccer game.

        It's still better than anything Lucas has done in the last 30 years.

      • by robot5x (1035276)
        I already posted but +1 funny.
    • Yeah, high resoloution CCDs and the electronics to drive them at film framerates have come down as semiconductor fabrication has improved and economys of scale have increased.

      Having said that this is far from comparable with a proffesional tv or movie camera for a couple of reasons.

      Firstly due to the lack of any high speed network or storage interfaces on the Pi and the lack of CPU power for custom processing you are pretty much forced to use the h.264 compressor in the GPU on the video before you can store

    • by mikael (484)

      It still flips me out that smartphones do texture mapping, multi-texturing at that, when just 15 years ago, that would have required a $10,000 graphics board on a desktop.

  • The module will be equipped with a 5MP sensor and will plug into the otherwise unused CSI pins of the Pi.

    Raspberry Pi: CSI

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... compressed into an H264 stream and then you're stuck with a CPU that makes first generation Atom netbooks look fast. The Raspberry Pi is yesteryear's phone hardware without the shiny case, folks. It's SLOW.

    • by gmarsh (839707) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:35PM (#42075983)

      And in other news, Arduino cards have a 16MHz 8-bit processor with mere kilobytes of both RAM and flash. And despite making a 1980s suitcase computer look fast, they've proven themselves to be fully capable of running all sorts of awesome things that hobbyists have been using them for.

      What's your point again?

    • by amorsen (7485)

      If only the slowness was the problem. The Pi may not be quite as fast at kernel compilation as a 486DX40 was back in the day, but that is not a major annoyance in practice.

      The complete lack of I/O is the problem. Ok, that is not quite correct, the Output part is pretty decent as long as you stick to HDMI, but the Input part is useless. Everything, even ethernet, is USB connected, and the USB controller is broken.

      At least this camera is not using USB, so you can use the Pi as some kind of video transformatio

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If only the slowness was the problem. The Pi may not be quite as fast at kernel compilation as a 486DX40 was back in the day, but that is not a major annoyance in practice.

        If you boot from the SD but have root on something faster (a high-speed flash drive, or a USB HDD) then it's faster than that was back in the day.

        The complete lack of I/O is the problem. Ok, that is not quite correct, the Output part is pretty decent as long as you stick to HDMI, but the Input part is useless. Everything, even ethernet, is USB connected, and the USB controller is broken.

        Why haven't I had a problem with the USB? I've certainly used it.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Everything, even ethernet, is USB connected, and the USB controller is broken.

        There were some major problems when mixing certain low-speed (10 Mbps) devices with high-speed devices, but that problem was basically fixed with a device firmware update and maybe a kernel update. I haven't had any problems since telling my Pi to update itself.

        That said, last I checked, the version of Raspbian that you can actually download in image form was way out of date and did not include those fixes. So you do have to exp

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Isochronous transfers are terminally broken, and non-isochronous transfers work only by luck and retransmissions.

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Translation: audio and video devices over USB don't work properly. (And many of them do; AFAIK, the problems are specific to USB 2.0 devices, and probably only in the presence of USB 1.1 devices like keyboards.)

            Compared with where things were a few months ago, that's a near-miraculous state. The prior state could best be described as "I plugged in a USB 1.x device through a USB 2.0 powered hub, and Ethernet stopped working until I unplugged the keyboard." :-)

            As I understand it, many of the problems stem

            • by amorsen (7485)

              AFAIK, the problems are specific to USB 2.0 devices, and probably only in the presence of USB 1.1 devices like keyboards.

              Great, specific to USB 2.0, that means I can do USB at 11Mbps.

              That particular breakage does not have anything to do with the presence of USB 1.1 devices, although those are broken for other reasons.

              The USB host controller is just a piece of junk which needs constant hand holding. Plan A is apparently to run a special high priority IRQ handler which overrides everything else. Plan B is to let the graphics core babysit the USB host controller.

              They can blame the latency of the rest of the kernel all they want;

  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:35PM (#42075981)
    Hell I'm all for cool hackable stuffbut there are tons of cool gadgets out their that doesn't get the same attention. Stuff that is more open in every meaning of the world. Is this news ? I can pick up a HD camera (1080p30fps) for the same amount on aliexpress. Seeing that it is developed by RS, delivery from China will be quicker. I can even send it back and let it reship and it still will be faster then RS shipment of RPI stuff.

    What is even ironically that the Liz Upton doesn't like Slashdot (look it up) or its community or anybody that has some valid criticism. Seeing how many advertisement Slashdot post it seems just a ridiculous thing to create buzz and post advertisement for people who in all honesty doesn't like your community. But then again sometimes I have the feeling seeing how things are getting edited, even the editors don't like this community... . So let me ask you this honest question timothy, why do you hate us so much ?

    Why no attention for other open source products that may even have a more open attitude because openness doesn't only stop with hardware or software... . They ban people on ridiculous grounds [element14.com] (read the examples and make your own mind up if those bans are valid) I even saw people from the RPI foundation attacking luc verhoeven (of the lima driver) because he pointing (rightfully) that their whole Open Source GPU drivers are just PR BS. I have seen companies or groups abusing or misrepresenting open source slaughtered for less.

    Sorry to come over as pissed, but it aggravates the hell out of me that projects like these [j1nx.nl] gets ignored when they raise money to create a really fully open system and there is so much non news posted about the RPI. I find these kind of projects a lot more interesting for another RPI add on.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'd like to go support that project, but R-Pi is 1/4 the price (well, plus shipping which was exorbitant in my case, but anyway) and it's too hard to get excited when there's Dual-core gumsticks for fifty bucks.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Sorry to come over as pissed, but it aggravates the hell out of me that projects like these [j1nx.nl] gets ignored when they raise money to create a really fully open system and there is so much non news posted about the RPI. I find these kind of projects a lot more interesting for another RPI add on.

      http://slashdot.org/~SilenceBE/submissions [slashdot.org]

      Hmm, looks blank. Can you complain?

  • - Part of a car-puter system; dash cam / dome cam.
    - Home security system cam
    - video conf system
    - video input for rPi-controlled robots

    There are some great cases now sized for the Raspberry Pi; would be cool to see the physical equivalent of Linux distros, with rPi cases sized for / sold with various accessories, and a working OS included, including apps appropriate for some particular use. (Things like Zoneminder, say.)

    - Lego-based plans (diagrams, lego)
    - a case that includes this camera module (or equival

    • by gmarsh (839707) on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:57PM (#42076157)

      Actual use cases I've seen for the Raspberry Pi that I've done myself and seen others do:

      - Plug the Rpi into a LAN, and connect it to the serial console of a piece of equipment with a USB to serial cable - old router, telephone equipment, radio broadcast transmitter, fill in the blank. SSH into the thing if you need to get at the console instead of doing a site trip.
      - Plug a few sensors into it, run it off a 12V car battery and a +5V automotive USB adapter, and leave it somewhere to log data onto the SD card or a USB stick.
      - Plug a USB hard drive into it, and use it as a low power torrent downloader, instead of keeping your desktop PC powered up when you're not home.

      It's a tiny, $25 linux machine. Possibilities are endless.

      • by dissy (172727)

        AdaFruit makes an enclosure that attaches to the wall-mount screw holes of a monitor, that you snap the Pi in. Perfect for an XBMC setup.

        I've also interfaced mine to an 8 port relay board and a USB camera. The relays are controllable from levers in my Minecraft server, and the camera is viewable on the web.
        Next step is to setup a christmas light scene controllable by the other players online, hopefully in time for chrismas!

      • by makomk (752139)

        - Plug the Rpi into a LAN, and connect it to the serial console of a piece of equipment with a USB to serial cable - old router, telephone equipment, radio broadcast transmitter, fill in the blank. SSH into the thing if you need to get at the console instead of doing a site trip.

        Does that actually work now? I know that for ages USB-to-serial cables were completely broken due to bugs in the USB controller on the Pi, and the RasPi Foundation publicly blamed all the problems on people using the wrong power supplies and banned anyone who suggested they should perhaps be a bit more forward with this information. (USB keyboards and mice were also horribly unreliable due to different controller bugs.)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Actually, it would be super-excellent to make a RCX-like brick out of an R-Pi... although I'd probably settle for a MSP or an Arduino

  • Sweet, I am super psyched to see what else comes out this giant little platform.

  • CSI connector is 100% closed, all code sitting in a blob. JamesH from RPi foundation rejected any pleads basically stating users are TOO CLUELESS to figure out setting up image sensor so they locked it down.
    Additionally they will be selling $5 cellphone image sensor at $15 and you wont be able to use any other one. (I wouldnt be surprised if they got special revision from Aptina just to lock it down harder).

    • by mako1138 (837520)

      It's an OmniVision part, but yes, it seems to be all closed as usual. I've never understood why image sensor documentation is so locked down.

      • by citizenr (871508)

        the sensor part is open and trivial to set up/communicate with, the communication port on RPI is closed black box

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2012 @07:20PM (#42077713)

      Yup, you are too clueless, because you obviously have no idea of the complexity involved. It takes man-months to really get a camera driver working properly, then man years to tune the sensor ISP to actually produce decent pictures. You get all that work, plus PCB development, for $25. And it is the standard OV sensor, not a specific 'locked down' version - you don't need locked down sensors because the damn things are all bloody different anyway.

      But actually Jamesh didnt say that was the reason the GPU blob is locked down at all. The GPU has its own firmware which is closed course, the camera driver and tuning are in that firmware, so are locked down as a result of the entire GPU source being closed, not because people are not experienced enough to make the sensor work.

      But full marks for FUD - well done.

  • I don't have one yet as I am more of a user than a hacker, hobbyist or developer, or whatever, but I am keen on putting together a kit which is known to work.

    My dream? Car computer!

    I want one of these to collect ALL SORTS of data... OBD2 data, environment data (temp, barametric, humidity, GPS and ALL that) and to put it out in some form which can be displayed on a device like an android tablet, web interface or even one of those USB display devices for an awesome digital dashboard.

    I don't know why, but I l

    • by Nexzus (673421)

      The RPi might be a bit underpowered for what you want to do with it, especially the Android idea. And IIRC, they even haven't been able to port Android yet.

      Better choice (albiet more expensive) would be a Beagle Board. http://beagleboard.org/ [beagleboard.org]

    • I want to be able to write text into the video stream before it's compressed and recorded, so I can record speed, bearing, etc. onto my dashcam video. I found software for Windows, but it drops frames even on a dual core i5 laptop.
  • Until they can quote a refresh rate, I don't care.

    If they later report that this can stream lightly-compressed 1080p at full frame rate, I will become very interested, but I'm guessing it won't offer any real advantages.

    • Oops. I read TFA, but didn't RTF blog post. 30 fps. Not interested. I'll stick with a Flip-clone if I want something like that.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Can do 1080p30 at upto about 30Mbits/s encoded stream, 720p60 at the same. Or lower resolutions at higher frames rates up to about 120fps.

  • With a good enclosure and some good storage, not to mention a hefty battery, I can see this spending lots of time taking time lapse photos for days and even weeks on end! I can't wait to see how its packaged, and I hope the lens doesn't stink.

  • fuck me, right?

    Granted, I did go a bit overboard in the powered USB Hub department, what with 28 ports and all, but it almost fit within the confines of a 32x32 lego plate

    http://imageshack.us/a/img811/6440/img0191nq.jpg [imageshack.us]

    http://imageshack.us/a/img59/7307/img0194ct.jpg [imageshack.us]

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