You’ll have to dig out your French dictionary (or Google translate) for this one, but it is worth it. [Nicolas Giraud] has been experimenting with ways to use a webcam to detect the number of eggs chickens have laid in a chicken coop. This page documents these experiments using a number of different algorithms to automatically detect the number of eggs and notify the owner. The system is simple, built around a Pi running Debian Jesse Lite and a cheap USB webcam. An LED running off one of the GPIO pins illuminates the eggs, and the camera then captures the image for analysis.
[Nicolas] tried detecting colors and blob detection (used by microbiologists to count cells on slides), but they didn’t work well against the uneven background of the straw. Finally, he settled on using a technique called Local Binary Patterns, where the system looks at the relationship of an area and the areas around it, searching for a specific pattern created by the round shape and color gradient of the egg. After some tweaking, he claims a 100% success rate.
His work is part of a project called Eggs-iting, which is designing an easy to use chicken coop that anyone can build and use in their back yard. I’ve had chickens, and have traipsed out in the rain and snow to get the eggs, only to find that the hens were not in the mood and hadn’t laid yet. So, a simple system that lets me know how many eggs to expect sounds perfect.