Photography options for the Arduino are few and far between. Webcams aren’t practical for applications like kite photography or public photography, unless you feel like buying a 200 foot USB cable. And current techniques for stand-alone Arduino photography typically try to capture raw image data from CMOS cameras popped off of cell phones…and believe me, unless you need to digitally upload or alter those photos in real time, you don’t want to go down that road. Why isn’t there a normal, cheap, run of the mill digital camera that’s controllable by Arduino?
Turns out there is at least one – and they sell it at your local drug store (CVS/Rite-Aid/Walgreens/etc.)
It’s those chintzy little keychain cameras that they sell for $10-15 a pop. The photography on them isn’t half bad with a resolution of about 300 by 200, they can store between 20 and 240 photos (depending on the one you find), and it turns out the little guys were just made to be hacked. You can also do this same hack with a cheap 1 or 2 megapixel camera that takes SD cards if needed (see below), but we’ll be stepping through the process used on the more commonly found 300 by 200 cameras.
This Instructable will walk you through the process of disassembling, modifying and reassembling an off-the-shelf keychain camera. It will then walk you through wiring a simple set of transistor switch circuits that can be used by Arduino to turn the camera off and on and snap photos whenever your program desires. It’ll also have sample code and plenty of pretty pictures.
We #celebratephotography here at Adafruit every Saturday. From photographers of all levels to projects you have made or those that inspire you to make, we’re on it! Got a tip? Well, send it in!
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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