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Introduction to Arducam USB Camera Shields

Some problems in developing a camera-related project or product

You can’t just pick a random camera and expect it to work with your device. Either the manufacturer has to deal with the sensors, interfaces, connectors, and drivers, or you deal with that yourself. However, not all interfaces and drivers will match with your target device, and not everyone has enough hardware and software skills at the same time to figure it out themselves.

Most times, it’s a pain to work with camera modules, especially when you are still evaluating and comparing the feasibilities among several sensors on different platforms. Anyway, you don’t want to deal with each combination individually. By the time you’ve finally figured out the drivers just to see the first decent image captured, you’re probably halfway to the deadline. However, getting images is only the start of the whole camera project.

There has to be a way to quickly test a camera and integrate it into your final product so that you can forget about these issues and concentrate on where your specialty is.

Camera Solution for All

Arducam aims to make the impossible possible and the hard easy. Our brand started with the world’s first high-resolution SPI camera solution, which makes it possible and easy to use HD cameras even on the microcontrollers without camera interfaces and operating systems, such as the Arduino UNO R3 and Mega 2560.

Although the SPI camera solution works on any device with SPI and I2C interfaces, it has limited rates and camera support. Therefore, we introduced a new general-purpose camera solution over the USB interface, which supports much higher resolution and better frame rates in 2017. It’s the Arducam USB camera shield lineup, with the “shield” borrowed from the Arduino community.

Arducam USB camera shield for product development and evaluation

The Arducam USB camera shield is a general-purpose camera control board designed for both PCs and embedded systems like the Raspberry Pi, Odriod, TI Beaglebone, and similar hardware. It supports almost all parallel interface image sensors ranging from 0.3MP to 16MP, including both global and rolling shutter sensors. The camera comes with a comprehensive software SDK library and example source code you need to make it work on Windows and Linux systems.

The SDK is fully integrated with Python, which allows for direct integration of our cameras with your OpenCV based applications. This USB camera shield solution uses a private camera driver and not UVC or V4L2 compatible, you have to use our proprietary SDK and API which gives you the flexibility to control all the sensor features from the register level. It is very useful for machine vision and scientific applications.

It can be easily used with Arducam camera breakout boards – a series of breakouts for many popular camera sensors – for fast prototyping/evaluation, as well as expanding camera support for certain platforms.

This lineup currently consists of two kinds of products, respectively USB2.0 camera shields, and USB3.0 camera shields. You can learn about them in the coming chapters.

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