Camera addon master thesis

During this spring we have been involved in a Master thesis together with Epsilon. The goal for the thesis was to embed a camera module on the Crazyflie so it could be remotely controlled. Finding a lightweight camera module with access to documentation without buying a million units turned out to be trickier then we thought. The aptina MT9D131 was chosen as it can be bought from normal distributors, there is access to documentation and it has on-board JPG compression. The NRF24L01 radio was tested to see if it could handle low resolution video streaming, and it could, so no additional radio was needed. An addon board was built which could attach to the Crazyflie expansion port and it was called… Crazycam! (I wonder when we will become crazy for real :-)) . The Crazycam board uses the same STM32F103CB MCU that the Crazyflie uses to read out images from the camera chip.

Crazycam v0.1 (sensor side, mcu side, with mounted lens)

It turned out that the bandwidth to read out the images from the MT9D131 to the STM32 wasn’t enough and finding lightweight lenses was not that easy so the end result wasn’t as good as we hoped for. It wights about 5g and can stream images at about 6FPS. There are still things to try out and in theory it should handle 15-20FPS. It might be fixable so it ain’t over yet. If you would like to read the full report it is available at Linköpings university under the link “fulltext”. Even though we didn’t get all the way Thomas and Joakim, the authors, did a great job!

5 comments on “Camera addon master thesis

  • For his size 15-20fps it is magnificent. I wonder this he will be market?

    • Well it is 15-20fps at pretty low resolution QQVGA (160×120 pixels) but it should be enough to remotly pilot it.

    • Thanks for the link! Yes we have looked at some of these miniature camera modules but we have not tried any yet. One issue with these is that our system runs on 2.8V and most of these camera modules needs 3.3V-5V and having an extra battery is not so appealing. It might work by hooking it directly to the our battery but we had problems with our 808 key-chain-camera connected this way. Also since they are not digital (PAL/NTSC) it is not that easy to get it into a computerprogram which we want. We will deffinetly try to make time to give it a shot though and if we don’t have time hopefully someone else will when the crazyflie is availible as a kit.

      Another camera module we want to try is the cameracube and a compression companion chip. then we can get down to very low size and weight but that is a lot of work…

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