DS Optical Mouse Camera


[Raguaviva] shows us in this video how he’s using an optical mouse as a low quality camera for his DS. This seems like a pretty cool hack, but we’re at a loss to think of a good use for it. As he gets to the end of the video, he seems to also have trouble thinking of a good use for it. Do you guys have any ideas?

41 thoughts on “DS Optical Mouse Camera

  1. There is an official expansion pack that attaches an optical mouse to the bottom of the DS. Google magukiddo. The A2030 chip used in that can also take photos… IIRC 8×8 greyscale photos.

    One good reason for being able to take photos would be to create games that involve tracing or otherwise detecting what the surface under the mouse looks like.

  2. It Could be used to create a line following robot that can track its position visually and then pass that information to a laptop through the DS’s wifi.

    or you could stick a lens on it and make a really low res digital microscope.

  3. One use might be to use it as a mouse, but have various colors on mousepad type thing, and move your mouse to launch a program or control music software on a ds, might be a neat way to switch instruments or turn on effects say while the mouse is on red have distortion on and the intensity of the color could be the amount of distortion.

  4. I could use this as a precision solar tracker on my solar thermal generator. I was planning on looking into the image sensors in an optical mouse for exactly this, and it looks simple enough to do with this information. I have a solar energy system that has to track a spot within a centimeter or so and this is an off-the-shelf sensor for it.

  5. have an idea for an app.. decent web cam for motion tracking/touchless input interfaces are a bit pricy but an optical mouse is cheep…use a cheep op mouse instead of a web cam…..5.00 op mouse or 15.00 webcam

  6. here is what would be brilliant. combine the mouse camera with a micro processor or fpga to track the bands of a low cost interferometer in real time. This would enable optical precision cnc machines for very low cost.

  7. High precision line-follower robot? (Without using the DS…

    PD: The SammyDestruction idea is veeery good, it’s a cheap way to see where your robot is, or furthermore, making that your robot map the room…

  8. How about using the optical mouse fitted with a lens as a low-res motion sensor/security alarm? Changes within the frame beyond a threshold trigger a motion alarm? I remember people doing this with EPROMS in the 80’s. like the line-follower robot idea above too.

  9. While I can think of no uses as-is, with the addition of some optics this could be quite a useful little motion sensor. Since you usually only care about “where something changed” instead of “what something changed” the low resolution would not be a hindrance (unless you are caring about tiny things changing). In fact, I believe it would be an advantage in that it wouldn’t require as much CPU power to process the data from the sensor as would a higher resolution device.

  10. I developed an optical motion sensor using an Avago sensor a couple of years ago. Adapting a different lens arrangement allows the sensor assembly to be suspended above the running surface by a few inches. You can read about it on my website at http://home.roadrunner.com/~maccody/robotics/croms-1/croms-1.html

    I thought about this idea in the past. I called it a “roach eye”. A sufficiently large optical flow, as seen by the sensor, would cause the line that drives the LED to drive more current. The increased current flow could be used to signal an alarm. With a robot, the signal would cause the main robot CPU to access the mouse sensor to read the pixel data. The pixel data could then be compared to a reference data set to determine if a response was needed. Using the mouse sensor for a “roach eye” would require some significant lens design to provide a sufficiently wide-angle field of view. Of course, multiple sensors could be used. This would be like an insect’s compound eye.

    While the sensor does have a frame rate of 1500 fps, it is not possible to read out the image data at a rate to support that frame rate. The data interface is serial.

  11. You could use this for a line follower. I know they don’t do much, but most line following robots need a large line, like a piece of electrical tape. This one could maybe follow a pencil line or something.

  12. Cool hack!
    Thinking of a use seems the big question?

    Well how about using it as a BARCODE SCANNER?!
    Seems just the right thing and it would probably be a hack many store/warehouse owners would love. Broken scanner? Well just replace it with a cheap mouse and this driver :). More advantages are that the ds can give ya wifi connection so you have a wireless scanner…

    Anyway just an idea… Aha when scrolling back seems someone beat me to that idea :D.

    But even further, how about fingerprints? Since it zooms in so much, how does your fingertip look underneath it? Slap some recognition software on it to recognize a print and use it to activate an electronic doorlock?

    Anyway keep on hacking, people will allways find good use of your work ;)

  13. Dont need the full image for this, but with the right optics on the front you could make a useful altimeter for RC planes. Use a GPS receiver and the mouse sensor and you can compare optical flow with gps velocity to get accurate ground height.

  14. This Is Just The Start of People Cracking the USB on the DS. Before You Know it. People Will be Using Them As Mice Controllers for PCs. And Extending The Wifi to Bluetooth, then With phones. The List Goes On. Even GPRS springs to mind with enough time.

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  16. Combine it with a flashing infrared led that will detect when you are looking at the camera due to the “red-eye effect”. This could then trigger turning on a light in a dark room, or turning off the tv if you fall asleep.

  17. You could use it as the sensor in a smart bullet or miniature ballistic missile. Map the target with a higher resolution camera and pass the data to the on board computer. With a system to slightly move the sensor you could map your target and program subsequent bullets or missiles to follow using near field communication. Something like the rifle in Fifth Element. The hard part would be developing a method to change trajectory of the bullet in flight. Not impossible but difficult. But with accelerometers getting so small it’s doable.

  18. You would probably use some sort of ruggedized MEMs device to move the sensor around. Now that would be a cool trick. But not impossible. On a hobbyist’s budget not doable unless you have access to a MEMs facility. So a passive arrangement would be preferable. The on board processing would have to be FAST! But with the new processors (32 bit ultra low power) ARM just announced (1mm x 1mm) the processing power is available. I have an old chip bonder so I’d give it a try. And as far as a power source you have to remember it’s only got to be powered up for a few seconds at most for most applications. Maybe a piezo boost pump arrangement rather than a battery so you could keep them in field conditions. You’re going to get a hell of a kick when the bullet is fired. Otherwise for a missile a charged cap so it doesn’t wake up pre-launch and detonate. I’m working on a system to change trajectory of a spinning bullet but it’s far from fruition at this time. Shotgun shell arrangements are the best platform for now because of the size constraints and the fact you can ad retractable wings. Mechanically more complex though. Hell, depending on the IR sensitivity of the sensor you could use it to hit living targets using some sort of signature analysis or hit vehicle engines or whatever. Good old fire and forget technology. You would have to use un-encapsulated parts and be really good at sub-miniature construction. The final cost would be around $5-$10 per round but for a smart bullet that’s cheap. And a shotgun round doesn’t rotate for stability. But nothing beyond the capabilities of some of the people who come here. And you could also produce a device that specifically DOES NOT target living creatures! YAY. Only assets. I’m planning on making a cat toy that follows my cats around and bug the hell out of them. Dual use, ha ha.

  19. Hey, good work there. I have some doubts.
    >Can the mouse camera capture color?
    >Is it possible to make a windows program that will display the images captured by the mouse camera?
    I think I have thought of a very feasible application for this hack if the answers of the questions turns out favourable.

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