Embedded Eye

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New ArduEye using Stonyman image sensor chips

Awhile ago we (Centeye) started ArduEye, a project to implement an open source programmable vision sensorbuilt around the Arduino platform. The first ArduEye version used a simple Tam image sensor chip and a plastic lens attached directly to the chip. After much experimentation and some feedback from users, we now have a second generation ArduEye.

The second generation ArduEye is meant to be extremely flexible, ultimately allowing one to implement a wide variety of different sensor configurations. A basic, complete ArduEye is shown below, and contains the following basic components:

An Arduino- Currently we are supporting Arduino UNO-sized boards (e.g. UNO, Duemilanove, Pro) and the Arduino MEGA. When the ARM-driven DUE comes out, we will surely support that as well.

A shield board- this board plugs into the Arduino, and has a number of places to mount one or more image sensor breakout boards. This shield also has places to mount an optional external ADC as well as additional power supply capacitors if desired.

A Stonyman image sensor on a breakout board- The Stonyman is a Centeye-designed 112x112 resolution image sensor chip with an extremely simple interface: 5 digital lines in, which are pulse in predefined sequences, and one analog line out, which contains the pixel. The Stonyman chips are wirebonded directly to a 1-inch square breakout board, which can plug into the shield.

Optics- Possibilities include printed pinholes, printed slits, and cell-phone camera lenses, depending on what you want to do.

Example application- The "application" is an Arduino sketch programmed into the Arduino. This sketch determines what the ArduEye does. One sketch can make it track bright lights, another sketch can measure optical flow, and so on. We are releasing, initially, a base sketch that demonstrates light tracking, optical flow, and odometry. Let us know what other example applications you would like to see.

ArduEye libraries- These libraries are to be installed in your Arduino IDE's "libraries" file, and include functions to operate the Stonyman image sensor chip as well as acquire and process images, including measuring optical flow. 

GUI- Finally, we created a basic GUI that serves as a visual dump terminal for the ArduEye. You can now communicate with the ArduEye via either the GUI or the basic Arduino IDE's serial terminal. The GUI was written in Processing.

We designed the system to allow easy hacking to implement a wide variety of vision sensors by exploring combinations of optics, image sensing, and image processing. I personally find it useful, and actually use this system for prototyping things at Centeye- I can prototype a new vision sensor in just a couple hours. The target applications are quite broad and include just about anything that may use embedded vision, whether robotics, sensor nets, industrial controls, interactive electronic sculptures (yes this has come up), and so forth.

The video at the top shows some of the basic things you can do with this ArduEye. You'll see the ArduEye interfacing with a host PC using both the Arduino IDE's serial terminal and the ArduEye GUI. For more details, including links to the hardware design files and source code, go to the ArduEye wiki site. The site is a work in progress, but should be adequate to get people started. The sample "first application" and GUI is what was used to generate the above video.

Right now we are having 200 Stonyman breakout boards being assembled- they should be ready within a month. We'll make more if this is well-received. We can assemble a few in-house at Centeye- I'll do this if enough people twist my arm and promise to really play with the hardware. :)

Please let me know your thoughts. In particular, are there any other "sample application" sketches you'd like us to implement?



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