Raspberry Pi camera board coming early next year

We’ve seen hundreds of builds tinker around with the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi. They’re great for bridging the gap between physical sensors and a virtual world, but there are a few more unused and ignored pins on the Raspberry Pi. The folks at the Raspberry Pi foundation are finally giving these unused pins a life of their own with the new camera module for our favorite single board computer.

The specs for the camera are fairly impressive – it can record H.264 video at 1080p and 30 frames per second. Best of all, it costs only $25.

There are a few more hurdles to pass before the Raspi foundation can send this board out to manufacturers. They still need to make sure the ribbon cable doesn’t emit any interference, but if all goes right the camera module should be available early next year.

You can see the camera in action in the video after the break. If you listen closely you can hear [Rob Bishop] of the Raspi foundation say they’re also working on a display add on for the other  unused pins on the Pi, something we can’t wait to see.

Comments

  1. Impressive!

  2. Christophe says:

    It’s great but I wish Broadcom would open the VideoCore side, which has more power to do vision signal processing, like what is possible on the BeagleBone.

  3. DennisC says:

    This would be wonderful for a near-space balloon project.

  4. sanderd says:

    So basically this means a wifi network (security?) camera with enough power for at least basic computer vision tasks for about 60 euros? Schweet!

    Please god let there be IR support / an easily removed filter.

  5. Anonymous Coward says:

    It would be awesome if it could allow something along the lines of http://fcam.garage.maemo.org/

    Also, it’s too bad the Raspberry Pi can’t make use of http://halide-lang.org/ as of now.

  6. FrankenPC says:

    Does that white square box in the middle mean we can easily manipulate a on screen display with the raspi?

  7. biozz says:

    dont these use a simple data + spi interface most cameras use?
    if so just grab a breakout and a $6 sparkfun camera!

    • rasz says:

      Yes, they use I2C for setup + some data pipe for pixels. CSI is a LVDS data bus.
      RPI foundation decided against opening up transport layer and letting us use ANY $5 cellphone LVDS camera (Nokia ones for example), they will milk us $25 in the name of “Users are too stupid to setup proper video pipeline”

      • andres says:

        that’s not at all why. the gpu controls the csi lane and because broadcom only gives out the binary blob you wouldn’t be able to configure it on your own. im sure they’re under all sorts of nda’s. if you’re going to blame someone blame broadcom.

        • rasz says:

          RPI foundation is Broadcom (same people)
          Besides its not hard to expose setup registers (frequency, byte order, resolution, color depth, I2C) and a framebuffer

          • Ardy718 says:

            RPi Foundation != Broadcom
            Eben Upton == Broadcom
            Rob Mullins == Cambridge Uni
            Jack Lang == Cambridge Uni & Artimi Ltd
            Alan Mycroft == Cambridge Uni
            Pete Lomas == Norcott Technologies
            David Braben == Frontier

          • andres says:

            rpi is close to broadcom but they are certainly not the same people. im pretty sure their only connection is that one of the guys used to work there.

      • Cyril says:

        Considering the rPI is made from (almost solely) the Broadcom parts bin, maybe it’s because it’s what Broadcom have that suits?
        No you’re right, it’s a conspiracy fur sure.

    • Cyril says:

      You mean the $9.95 (up to) 15fps 1300×1040 1.3MP?
      Yeah that’s way better than $25 30fps 1920×1080 5MP…
      just not on this planet ;)

  8. Just add a PoE power extractor module and a couple of servoes and you have a PoE PTZ HD Webcam. I second the being able to remove any IR filters for “nightvision” with IR LED flood lights, as well as having OpenCV running on the camera platform itself rather than bogging down the central PoE server with all of that processing overhead.

  9. a2e says:

    I wonder why 30 FPS? Since everything is set up thought SPI/I2C can this be ajusted down to 24 FPS?

    • Cyril says:

      umm why would you want to?

      • spiderwebby says:

        (older/pre-hd?) movies are recorded at 24fps. Something to do with pal/ntsc framerates perhaps?
        On a side note, 60FPS look… odd…

        • Munky says:

          Working in post-production… NTSC runs at a frame rate of 30fps (actually 29.97)… PAL runs at 25fps (50fields per second, 2 fields per frame)… Movies may be FILMED at 24fps, but run through a conversion process to run at each of the aforementioned standards… If you’ d like to educate yourself on the process, rather than speaking about something you only think you know about, you can learn a little bit about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24p

          • Coda says:

            I was going to say something about broadcast formats and conversions, but I decided not to – with this new commenting system layout I can’t really tell who you’re being an ass to.

      • a2e says:

        Most “films” even now use a frame rate of 24 FPS. For better or worse we have been trained our whole lives to think that 24 FPS looks like a movie, while any higher frames rates look like home video (or a cheap soap opera.) If you want to know more just google early fan reactions to the new Hobbit movie which was recorded at 48 FPS, it is VERY mixed…

  10. will says:

    Maybe if I order it when it first comes out, I’ll be able to get it in 2016.

    ***Ordered my Raspi in June, still haven’t received it.****

    • Kemp says:

      Probably best just to cancel and re-order. Not sure who you did it with, but Farnell were at a week or two for delivery last time we tried to get some.

      • garym53 says:

        Probably because they are now charging an arm and a leg for them..

        I have the same problem, bought through RS and have had delay updates again and again.

        • Kemp says:

          £33.16 is hardly an arm and a leg, but point taken about the price hike over RS. Still, if £7 gets you one in a few days to a week instead of RS’s “maybe soon, maybe never” policy then it might be worth it.

          • garym53 says:

            Well what constitutes an arm and a leg depends on your personal situation – none-the-less when I first cam across it it was advertised as USD35 and free shipping – it is now over USD56 inc shipping – that’s a BIG increase in my book.

    • David says:

      More fool you. Why didn’t you get delivery problem sorted out then Will, but leave it until now to moan. I ordered my Pi in August and got it the next day. So I have, unlike you, been using it for five months.

  11. Chuckt says:

    If you sell it at Best Buy, you know it will have to cost $70 or more.

  12. qwerty says:

    Great news, but since all critical stuff is done within a closed source binary blob (didn’t they open everything? Apparently not) before doing anything important with that camera module I would ask the folks at broadcom if their binary blob watermarks in any way the generated compressed video flow.

    • willrandship says:

      The ‘opening of everything’ is more like the ATI opening of the Radeon drivers than like linux opening its source code. They opened the code that interfaces to the various OSes, so that people could get HW acceleration in anything they want. They did NOT open the VideoCore firmware (which just happens to also sit on your SD card)

      Completely understandable. This is why so many people were complaining about it all just being a bunch of calls to firmware functions.

  13. Chris C. says:

    Lots of questions:

    1) Will use standard, replaceable microlenses?
    2) Will the IR filter be easily removable?
    3) Is the H.264 encoding done by the camera board, or by the Pi?

    • zing says:

      Don’t know about the lenses/filters, but the encoding is done by the GPU

    • Hitek146 says:

      1) I’m guessing it would, as most newer camera modules I have seen let you replace the lens.
      2) Probably won’t be one in the camera, itself, but maybe would depend on the lens assembly that they supply, depending on the point above.
      3) If it is a standard LVDS type camera interface, then the compression would obviously be done on the Pi.

  14. garym53 says:

    Well, if it is due to be released early next, year, and we can pre order this year we might get it by 2016 if the PI is anything to go by…

  15. justice099 says:

    I have been holding out on getting a raspberry pi for all the same reasons that people are comlpaining. I don’t like that it is using a closed chipset that is going to limit my ability to use it to it’s potential, the long wait times fo orders, etc…

    I would rather pay a bit more and get a platform that is a bit more open. The number one thing they need to work out is the display interface before I am willing to jump in. But even then if I am locked in to using only their displays at whatever they feel like charging me, I think I will look elsewhere.

    • thantik says:

      Mind naming _ANY_ platform that is more open?

    • max says:

      Have you ever thought about reverse engineering the drivers? Like Rob Clark is doing with the adreno GPU (checkout http://bloggingthemonkey.blogspot.de/)?
      This site is called Hack a Day not Complain A Day.

      • justice099 says:

        If I were going to go through all that trouble, I would do it on a much more capable system. Why the Raspi?

        I actually get laid once in awhile. This is a piece of hardware. It is a tool. I don’t sit around reverse engineering spoons and forks just so I can eat my dinner and find that acceptable. Why not just suggest that I make my own Raspberry Pi from scrach which I would be more likely to do than waste hours reverse engineering this? I am buying a piece of hardware to do something with it. When I can’t do whatever I want with it, I look elsewhere.

        It’s simple… a manufacturer wants my money. I decide that what they manufacture is worth more to me than the money they want in trade. If it isn’t, I don’t give them my money. If I have to spend hours and hours of my time “reverse engineering” it just to make it worth the money I gave them, then that increases the total cost. In this case, it goes beyond what I find it is worth. So, I will just wait until something is worth it.

  16. Coda says:

    Doesn’t that mean 2 months ago?

  17. Hmmm… RPi * 2 + Camera Module * 2 + laser line pointer = cheapest 3D scanner yet?

  18. reecardo says:

    Does anyone know where to buy a Rasberry Pi for $50 or less with shipping? I know in theory they are available, but I can not seem to find any but for $70+ on amazon.

  19. oni says:

    I just had to comment. Hear me out here.

    i live in a not so rich country — we do try to make us feel like we are alright, but truely, we arent. I got the raspberry pi as a birthday gift, and it’s truely great. I might not have a tv, but i can boot it up and ssh using my work computer and learn more and more things about linux and GPIO and everything. I love this pi, i truely do. I scavenge as many parts as possible from everything i find in the hopes that one day i might be able to learn how to use it.

    However, the cost of this simple camera is a lot for me. I mean, i could get food for 2-3 weeks with the money i wish i could spend on the camera module, from rs components it’s US$30.59 (im not sure if it includes shipping, its the price on their product page [http://raspberrypi.rsdelivers.com/product/raspberry-pi/camera-module/raspberry-pi-hd-video-camera-module/7757731.aspx] ). I know they are stuck and cannot provide free access to the CSI port so people more intelligent can figure out how to truely save costs for us little people — i have a few odd cellphone cameras ive always stored to hope i can one day use them.

    So…can this not be reverse enginnered? In any way? With a breadboard and scavenged parts even. It might not be ethical… but in my country when one buys a console, it usually comes pre-hacked because, well, we dont really have games, and the places that sell games sell them at 2-3 times the price of this module.

    Im just asking.. i dont want to cause controversy over “omg they are trying to help everyone by making it as cheap as possible, why would you undermine their effort by reverse enginnering their stuff?!?!1one”..turns out cheap as possible for the {x}% of our planet is sometimes quite expensive for some of us.

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