Polaroid sonar for robotics


This is another repurposing hack to help you along with your robotics projects. The guide shows you how to disassemble a polaroid camera to get the sonar sensors. Don’t worry, it also covers how to use them. The camera also has a lot of other parts you can salvage.


  1. jaser says:

    Unavailable though.

  2. Roy says:

    Polaroid used to sell this ultrasonic module independently. I even built a project around it back in 1994. judging from the code in the linked article, the module from the camera is a little more usable. the old module had separate pulse init and echo received lines, and the echo line would trip on the outgoing pulse, necessitating a delay before looking for the echo.

  3. icwiener says:

    go to http://www.seattlerobotics.org/encoder/200010/
    and click the link on the left.. worked for me

  4. Simon baker says:

    The site has exceeded its bandwidth…Bummer!

  5. It still seems to come up for me. You can always try the coral cache:


  6. weirdguy0101 says:
  7. lamer says:

    i won’t believe it until i see what a picture from this gaget looks like. until then, this is witchcraft.

  8. stupidquestions says:

    so what are some practical uses of this? I’m pretty new to this robotics thing.

    can I build a robot to find my remote controls?

  9. furtim says:

    Where’s the witchcraft? He’s hacking a component from a camera (that probably has microcontrollers in it) to interface with his own microcontrollers. Seems pretty straightforward (and rather cool) from here.

    Anyway. Since hackaday is slashdotting (err… hackadaying?) sites now, maybe they should just link to cached copies in the future rather than using direct links. ;)

  10. Um, picture? Or you smokeing? This is just the sonar device, not the optics. The only use of this device is to calculate dist

  11. PK says:

    Sonar can and is used to generate pictures. No smoking required.

  12. sonar can be used to create pictures (like your dad fish finder, or those military things) at very high sample rates with very precise equipment. for example, if you created a sonar device yourself you may want to include a way for it to distinguish between waves reflected from a nearby object, as well as various levels behind that object. this, with a high sample rate, and scanning, can create an ‘image’ if you will, of distances. but not the kind of image you are i are used to.

    so, that said, this device falls short on two levels… one, it can not distinguish levels in its current setup, and two, it has a very low sample rate in its current setup. _that_ said, no, it can not create images. thank you.

  13. Clueless Wonder says:

    The sonar is for ranging information only.

    And this hack has some whiskers on it too.
    Nothing wrong with it mind you, it’s just been around for a long long time, like since 1998 long, if not longer.

    I VPed The Robotics Club of Yahoo for six years, and it’s made the rounds there since I was on board!

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