[TriEmbed] Camera Advice

Ted Pudlik tpudlik at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 00:32:54 CDT 2014


Hello,

I'm working on a system for my bird feeder that would detect birds, take
photos of them and put these photos up online.  I assembled a working
prototype using a Raspberry Pi (with a WiFi dongle), a passive IR sensor
and a Logitech webcam, but it suffers from two drawbacks:

   1. The power consumption of the Pi is too large to permit long-term
   operation on battery or solar power, restricting installation options.
   2. The image quality leaves a lot to be desired.  (Here's an example
   picture<https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdqquj6um0vluyg/Carolina_Chickadee.jpg>
   .)

To solve issue 1 while keeping WiFi connectivity easy, I'm looking into
replacing the Pi with an electric imp <https://electricimp.com/>.  I'm not
sure what to do about the camera, though.  Adafruit sells a camera
accessible via serial port <https://www.adafruit.com/products/397> that can
be made to work with the
imp<http://forums.electricimp.com/discussion/comment/5824#Comment_5824>,
but capturing quality stills is not its strength.  The excellent built-in
iPhone cameras can be bought surprisingly cheaply on
eBay<http://www.ebay.com/itm/Replacement-Rear-Facing-Camera-for-iphone5s-/281316823054?pt=US_Other_Cell_Phone_Accessories&hash=item417fca100e>,
but I'm not sure how to get them to talk to anything other than an iPhone.
 Another possibility might be buying and cannibalizing a cheap digital
camera<http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-Easyshare-Digital-Camera-Silver/dp/B003VTZE1M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398662318&sr=8-2&keywords=digital+camera>,
but again I don't know if the modules inside could be interfaced with a
standard microcontroller.

What would you recommend?  What's the best way to get a reasonably priced
camera that takes high quality stills and can be easily controlled through
a standard bus?

Thank you for your help!
Ted
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