DIY Grid Eye IR Camera

Tindie is a great place to find uncommon electronic components or weird/interesting boards. [Xose Pérez] periodically “stroll the isles” of Tindie to keep up on cool new components, and when he saw Panasonic’s Grid_EYE AMG88 infrared sensor, [Xose] knew that he had to build something with it. The awesome find is an 8×8 IR array sensor on a breakout board… the hack is all in what you do with it.

Already taken by “LED fever,” [Xose’s] mind immediately fixated on an 8×8 IR array with an 8×8 LED matrix display. With a vision, [Xose] threw together an IR sensor matrix, a LED matrix, a small microcontroller, a Li-Ion battery, a charger, and a step-up to power the LEDs. What did he end up with? A bulky but nice camera that looks fantastic.

While commercially available IR Cameras have thousands of pixels and can overlay a normal image over an IR image among other fancy stuff, they are sometimes prohibitively expensive and, to quote [Xose], “waaaaaay less fun to build”. Like any engineer, [Xose] still has ideas for how to improve his open source camera. From more color patterns to real time recording, [Xose] is only limited by the memory of his microcontroller.

Moreover, [Xose’s] camera is inspired by the Pibow cases made by Pimoroni and this is only one project in a series that uses a stack of laser cut pieces of MDF and acrylic for the project enclosure. What’s not to love: short fabrication times and a stunning result. Want more project enclosures? We’ve got plenty.

8 thoughts on “DIY Grid Eye IR Camera

  1. “While commercially available IR Cameras have thousands of pixels and can overlay a normal image over an IR image among other fancy stuff, they are sometimes prohibitively expensive…”

    FLIR one is about $300 so I guess “expensive” is pretty relative.

  2. I’ve done some evaluation work of these in the lab for use as industrial sensors – if you’re not interested in photo-level resolution (or close-up work) the GridEye is pretty good, quick response (it’s a thermopile device rather than bolometer), and fairly simple to interface if you get the breakout board kit from Digi-Key (~$50) total. We had a strange problem with it sending extra bits but were able to deal with it in software – may have been PEBCAK.

  3. For some applications a few grid-eyes can still be very useful. e.g. with a series of lenses with fields of view such that their is a diminishing field of view with each eye covering 25% of the next widest view and the entire set being on a movable head you can still detect motion over a wide area and then located the object precisely. With 4 eyes it is maybe equivalent in precision to a fixed 512 x 512 grid, possibly more as with micro sweeping you may be able to get sub-pixel accuracy on the camera with the narrowest view, a megapixel IR detector, but no longer a normal camera.

    1. Or a saccadic camera which mounts the entire sensor in a magnetic sling and physically moves it around behind the lens. With some position sensing and feedback, you can vibrate the sensor around and collect as much resolution as you want.

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