Frequently Asked Questions

Version 33 (Kwabena Agyeman, 03/23/2012 12:35 am) → Version 34/40 (Kwabena Agyeman, 07/01/2012 05:06 pm)

h1. Frequently Asked Questions

h3. *What is unique about the CMUcam4?*

Traditionally fast computers are needed to capture and process camera images. It is also necessary to write the software to perform this processing. Because of this it is difficult to use vision as a sensor in simple systems.

The CMUcam4 vision system uses a fast low cost microcontroller to handle all of the high speed processing of the camera data and contains software to perform simple vision tasks. Because the user can choose to output only low bandwidth high level information from the vision system, like the red object is at position X-Y, it is possible for a simple processor like a Arduino or BASIC Stamp 2 microcontroller to read this data and direct a small robot in tasks like chasing a colored ball. The CMUcam4 vision system makes it possible to ignore the complexity of camera interfacing and use vision just like any other sensor (i.e. sonar) often used in robotic systems.

Additionally, with new TV output functionality, you can see what the CMUcam4 sees on the TV to verify that everything is working!

h3. *What is the CMUcam4's frame rate?*

The frame rate is 30 8 frames per second. This means CMUcam4 can tell you the position of an object 30 8 times per second. Using the serial software protocol you can slow this down if desired.

h3. *What baud rates does the CMUcam4 support?*

The CMUcam4 can communicate at any baud rate selected via the serial software protocol. The default baud rate after the CMUcam4 resets is 19,200 bits per second.

h3. *How do I upgrade my CMUcam4 firmware?*

Please see the [[firmware]] wiki page.

h3. *Does the CMUcam4 work outside?*

The CMUcam4 works outside but not in direct sunshine. It is possible to add an external filter to improve outdoor operation.

h3. *Can I write custom code for the CMUcam4?*

Please see the [[firmware]] wiki page.

h3. *How much power does the CMUcam4 consume?*

The complete system consumes about 100 milliamperes.

h3. *What is the CMUcam4's field of view?*

About a 25 degree field of view, which is relatively narrow.

h3. *What processor does the CMUcam4 use?*

Please see the [[firmware]] wiki page.

h3. *What CMOS camera does the CMUcam4 use?*

Please see the [[firmware]] wiki page.

h3. *Does the CMUcam4 work with other CMOS cameras?*

No. Currently the hardware and software system have been designed to work specifically with the "OmniVision":http://www.ovt.com/ "OV9665":http://www.ovt.com/products/sensor.php?id=5 CMOS camera. The system would need to be completely redesigned to work with another camera.

h3. *Is there some place I can find answers to additional questions I have?*

Yes. Please visit the forums "here":/projects/cmucam4/boards.

h3. *Where can I find out more about computer vision in general?*

The CMUcam4 performs the simple computer vision task it was designed to perform in a small, inexpensive package. However, the general computer vision problem of trying to recognize arbitrary objects under arbitrary conditions is still a very active research topic and very far from being anywhere near a solved problem.

If you want to learn more about computer vision, you might want to try these links:

* "The On-Line Compendium of Computer Vision":http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/CVonline/
* "The Computer Vision Home Page at CMU":http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~cil/vision.html

h3. *What is the exact sequence of steps performed on power up by demo mode?*

This is the exact sequence that demo mode performs on power up:

# Reset the camera.
# Wait 5 seconds for the camera parameters auto adjustment to stabilize.
# Select YCbCr mode and turn off auto gain and white balance.
# Execute the "TW" (Track Window) command.

After which, the camera will begin to drive servos towards the centroid of the color detected by the "TW" (Track Window) command.

h3. *What is the exact sequence of steps performed by the "TW" (Track Window) command?*

This is the exact sequence of steps that the "TW" (Track Window) command performs:

# Shrink the window to 1/4 the size (in each dimension) of the current window to a new window centered at the current window center.
# Get all the channel means.
# Restore the window to the full image size.
# Set the max and min value for each color channel to be the mean for that channel +/- the user supplied threshold for each channel.

After which, the camera will begin to stream Type F, S, and/or T packets.