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Kwabena Agyeman, 03/13/2012 04:17 pm


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Where can I buy a CMUcam4?

Typical Uses

The CMUcam4 can be used to track or monitor color. The best performance can be achieved when there are highly contrasting and intense colors. For instance, it could easily track a red ball on a white background, but it would be hard to differentiate between different shades of brown in changing light. Tracking colorful objects can be used to localize landmarks, follow lines, or chase a moving beacon. Using color statistics, it is possible to monitor a scene, detect a specific color or do primitive motion detection. If the camera detects a drastic color change, then chances are something in the scene changed. Using "LM" (Line Mode), the CMUcam4 can act as an easy way to get low resolution binary images of colorful objects. This can be used to do more sophisticated line following that includes branch detection, or even simple shape recognition. These more advanced operations would require custom algorithms that would post process the binary images sent from the CMUcam4. As is the case with a normal digital camera, this type of processing might require a computer or at least a fast microcontroller.

Typical Configuration

The most common configuration for the CMUcam is to have it communicate to a master processor via a standard RS232 serial port. This “master processor” could be a computer, PIC, Basic Stamp, Handy Board, Brainstem or similar microcontroller setup. The CMUcam is small enough to add simple vision to embedded systems that can not afford the size or power of a standard computer based vision system. Its communication protocol is designed to accommodate even the slowest of processors. If your device does not have a fully level shifted serial port, you can also communicate to the CMUcam over the TTL serial port. This is the same as a normal serial port except that the data is transmitted using 0 to 5 volt logic. The CMUcam supports various baud rates to accommodate slower processors. For even slower processors, the camera can operate in “poll mode”. (See “PM” command pg 22.) In this mode, the host processor can ask the CMUcam for just a single packet of data. This gives slower processors the ability to more easily stay synchronized with the data. It is also possible to add a delay between individual serial data characters using the “delay mode” command. (See “DM” command pg 19.) Due to the communication delays, both poll mode and delay mode will lower the total frame rate that can be processed.

Note for European Union Residents

The WEEE symbol on the CMUcam4 indicates that the CMUcam4 must not be disposed of with other household waste. Instead, it is your responsibility to dispose of the CMUcam4 by handing it over to the designated collection point for recycling of waste electrical equipment. Separate collection and recycling of the CMUcam4 at the time of disposal will help to conserve natural resources and ensure that the CMUcam4 is recycled in a manner that protects human health and the environment. For more information about where you can drop off the CMUCam4 for recycling, please contact your local city office or your local waste disposal service.


All brand names and trademarks mentioned on this website and in documents found on this website are the property of their respective owners.


The CMUcam4 was designed very carefully. We have made every effort to avoid mistakes but we cannot guarantee that the CMUCam4 is free of errors. The information found on this website is given as an indication. The technical characteristics of the CMUcam4 may change at any time without notice in order to improve the quality and the functionality of the CMUcam4.

Limitation of Liability

In no event shall Carnegie Mellon University and its manufactures and distributors be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profit, operating cost for commercial interruption, loss of information, or any other financial loss) from the use or inability to use the CMUcam4 even if Carnegie Mellon University or its manufactures or distributors have been informed of such damages.

The CMUcam4 is intended to be used indoors in residential areas for hobbyist, educational, and experimental use. The CMUcam4 is not designed and not authorized for use in military applications, or for use in applications involving explosives, or in medical applications, or for use as a security alarm, or for use as a fire alarm, or in applications involving elevators, or in embedded applications in commercial vehicles such as but not limited to cars, trucks, boats, scooters, motorcycles, karts, jet skis, aircraft, helicopters, etc., or in embedded applications involving commercial aircraft such as but not limited to helicopters, gliders, etc.

In the same way, the CMUcam4 is not designed, or intended, or authorized to test, develop, or be built into applications where failure could create a dangerous situation that may result in financial losses, damage to property, personal injury, or the death of people or animals. If you use the CMUcam4 voluntarily or involuntarily for such unauthorized applications, you agree to subtract Carnegie Mellon University and its manufactures and distributors from all liability for any claim for compensation. Carnegie Mellon University and its manufactures and distributors entire liability and your exclusive remedy shall be at Carnegie Mellon University's and its manufactures and distributors option for the return of the price paid for, or repair, or replacement of the CMUcam4. Carnegie Mellon University and its manufactures and distributors disclaim all other warranties, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the CMUcam4 including accompanying written material, hardware and firmware.

CMUcam4_A.JPG - Picture A (49.2 kB) Kwabena Agyeman, 03/14/2012 10:44 pm

CMUcam4_B.JPG - Picture B (26.8 kB) Kwabena Agyeman, 03/14/2012 10:44 pm