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Author Topic: Arduino and camera/webcam  (Read 51828 times)
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Well, back in the day (~'95 or '96) there was a connectix quick cam made for a mac that I think used a serial connection. When connectix came out with the windows version it used the parallel port. The early video conference types (including me) would use cuseeme. I initially used a 14.4 modem but later went big time with a 33.6 on my 486x66 with 8mb of ram. So one can actually have bidirectional video over a serial port in certain conditions. I later made a dialup point to point video netmeeting connections with a relative in another state and a roommate's other phone line. The arduino just doesn't have a lot of horsepower, but inquiring minds keep thinking.    
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I'm a beginner as well, so this is manly a question, but also a suggestion if it works.

Would it work to hook up a webcam (which already has a live image if you hook it up to the usb port on your computer) to a usb adapter and put the usb adapter on a breadboard along with a radio transmitter. Then put a radio receiver on your computer. Then attach the aforementioned breadboard (w/ webcam attached) to a robot, and voila!! you see what the robot sees from the comfort of our desk chair. Then go even further and make the robot an RC.

Who here thinks that this idea would work?
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Would it work to hook up a webcam (which already has a live image if you hook it up to the usb port on your computer)

No:  the PC is doing a lot of work,  by Arduino standards,  to generate that live image from the webcam data.

It's like hooking an RV to your bicycle:  you might be able to generate a little movement movement with a lot of effort,  but it's not a feasible way to do any real travel.
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Well, back in the day (~'95 or '96) there was a connectix quick cam made for a mac that I think used a serial connection.

Actually, most likely (though I never saw it, so I don't know for sure) it used the ADB connection on the Mac; while such a connection theoretically allowed for a higher-speed data rate than a regular serial port - supposedly it wasn't really possible, unless they were doing some software trickery to get the speed up (certainly a possibility).

I suppose if you bumped the serial speed of the USB/FTDI connection on the Arduino, and wrote some really tight code on both ends to parse things as fast as possible, you might be able to get a decent frame rate (10fps or so). The thing with the original QuickCam, though, was the fact that it only had 16 shades of grey at 320x200 resolution - so it was only needing to push 32000 bytes per frame (roughly, not counting overhead).

If you could get the raw pixel data from the camera, it might be possible to send a stream of pixel data values, perhaps with inter-frame pixel difference values (and key values every so often) to keep the data rate down, perhaps a small buffer with simple RLE to further lower the data rate (or some other on-the-fly, per scan line compression scheme)...
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One of the low bandwith provisions of cuseeme was that the large frame was composed of a lot of small frames. Only the small frames that had a certain amount of change were actually sent to the community server. This saved the overhead of sending the small background frames that had little change. I still have some of the B/W windows parallel port cams. In the past the CCD chip in them was popular for use with telescope projects.
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