Embedded Eye

Give your gizmo the gift of sight

Arduino-compatible Rox1 shield - Interface any current Centeye chip to an Arduino.

I like Arduinos. They are inexpensive, open source, and insanely easy to program. The Arduino environment also comes with a nice little serial monitor making it easy to monitor what a program is doing and "debug" if necessary. So in the past we decided to hook up an Arduino Pro Mini to a FireflySmall sensor, to make an optical flow sensor. This worked, and we received a favorable response to this project.

As a result, we decided to develop a simple Arduino-compatible shield that will interface any of Centeye's current vision chips (Firefly series, Faraya series, Tam/Tamalpais series, and Hexagon) to an Arduino. So far we have tested this board with both a Tam-series chip and a FireflyBig chip (above), and with an Arduino Duemilanove and an Arduino Pro Mini. If you don't want to use an Arduino, the Rox1 board also serves as a simple breakout board allowing you to interface our chips with your own processor.

We have chosen an Arduino for several reasons: First, although they are not powerful, they do have enough memory and processing speed to process images of up to several hundred pixels. You can process larger images if you don't need a frame buffer. Second, we believe that Arduino code is an appropriate medium for demonstrating how to operate one of our chips- Rather than give you pseudocode, we can give you actual code that has been verified to work. Third, although Arduinos are not suitable for processing images taken from our larger chips, they still are suitable for allowing you to get a chip operational in a simple environment. You can play with the chip in this environment before connecting it with a more powerful processor. You can even read off the image of a chip and dump it to the serial monitor as a MATLAB-compatible array, so you can copy it into MATLAB (or a similar program) and study the imagery that way.

In the future we are going to release Rox1 boards with different chips. This will start with the Tam series chips, to be released today. If you are in a hurry and want to acquire a Rox1 board with a different Centeye chip, please email us at sales@centeye.com.

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Comment by Phani Gaddipati on February 25, 2011 at 8:34pm

Excellent job! (Like the DOF too...)


When you say compatible with all the chips, do you mean via the respective chip breakout, or as seen in the picture, just diff versions with different vision chips?

Comment by Geoffrey L. Barrows on February 26, 2011 at 10:20am
Thanks! The breakout board is compatible with the PIO12B interface (IO7...IO0, WNR, CS1, Analog) and so will work with any of the Faraya, Firefly, or Hexagon chips. (Except for the digital output option for the Faraya64plus chip.) The Tam series chips basically use two digital inputs and one analog output and so we just connected IO7 to Clock, IO6 to Reset, and the Analog signal. So this one board will work with all. Of course the Tam chips are very simple so we are wasting board space for that chip- we could easily make a smaller breakout board for that.


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