The CMUcam1 is a low-cost, low-power sensor for mobile robots. You can use the CMUcam1 vision system to do many different kinds of on-board, real-time vision processing tasks. Because the CMUcam1 uses a serial port, it can be directly interfaced to other low-power processors such as PIC chips. For more information see the wiki.

At 17 frames per second, the CMUcam1 can do the following:

  • Track the position and size of a colorful or bright object
  • Measure the RGB or YUV statistics of an image region
  • Automatically acquire and track the first object it sees
  • Physically track using a directly connected servo
  • Dump a complete image over the serial port
  • Dump a bitmap showing the shape of the tracked object

Using the CMUcam1, it is easy to make a robot head that swivels around to track an object. You can also build a wheeled robot that chases a ball around, or even chases you around. In the gallery, you can see pictures and videos of some of the robots we and others have built with the CMUcam1.

How do I use one?

Your first step (after taking a look at the gallery) is to go to downloads, where you can retrieve the CMUcam1 User's Manual. This contains a complete parts list and schematic as well as a description of the serial protocol and capabilities.

Make sure to test your CMUcam1 using our java interface program. Then you're ready to build your own visual robots!


This project was supported through the generosity of the NASA Ames Intelligent Systems Program and The Robotics Institute (established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotic technologies), part of the School of Computer Science, at Carnegie Mellon University.

Questions or Comments?

Contact us at .