No Camera Interface in Early STM32 Development Boards
Starting from 2007, STMicroelectronics has expanded their 32-bit Arm Cortex-based MCUs from the STM32 F1 to a whole catalog of 17 series with nearly 1100+ dev boards, the overwhelming number of products have scared so many hobbyists and developers away, especially those who have zero experience with microcontrollers.
Here’s the hard truth about STM32 MCUs: Before 2017, the year in which Digital Camera Interface (DCMI) was officially introduced; before low-end cameras like OV7670 or STM32F4DIS-CAM can be integrated, there had been no viable way to use parallel camera modules with the early STM32 boards, and it resulted in the complete annihilation of machine vision possibilities on the early F1, L1, F0, F3, L0 series and most of the F2/F4-series chips, the Static RAMs on those boards are way too small to deal with the raw data generated by image sensors.
From a hardware engineer’s viewpoint, if you want to get a parallel camera module to work on an unsupported microcontroller, a high-speed interface will be needed, and the data coming from the camera will have to be pre-processed.
Gladly, as a company that has been developing cutting-edge camera solutions for microcontrollers ever since 2012, we had it all sorted out about 9 years ago, in fact, we’d done the harder work, we single-handedly got image sensors with up to 5 megapixels successfully working on 8-bit Atmel chips, which have even more crippled specs than the slowest 1st-gen STM32 F1-series.
Our tried-and-true SPI camera series, which is originally developed for Arduino boards and has recently got migrated to the BBC Micro:bit & RPI Pico, is now available to the entire STM32 microcontroller family! It will soon be ready for a whole lot of mainstream MCUs, including but not limited to ESP, Nordic, and Renesas development boards.
Arducam Makes All STM32 MCUs Available to Interface w/ Single/Multiple Image Sensor(s) Through SPI & I2C
The exclusive Arducam SPI camera series presents a universal solution for connecting high-resolution image sensors to any STM32 MCUs, we use the I2C interface for camera initialization and controls, and the SPI (serial peripheral interface) port to take care of incoming data streams.
Privileges of the approach:
- SPI has the highest data throughput of all interfaces and is fast enough for high-speed signals from camera modules.
- Utilizing SPI and I2C gives the cameras maximum compatibility, you can use an image sensor with boards that do not have dedicated camera interfaces.
- This can also work with our SPI camera multiplexers for connecting more than 4 modules to a single STM32 board.
- The extra onboard frame buffer (ranging from 8MB to 32MB) makes it feasible for storing more high-resolution images and MJPEG video streams.
Best Camera Solutions for STM32 Boards Without DCMI: 2MP Arducam OV2640 & 5MP OV5642
For STM32 boards that do not have DCMI, our 2MP OV2640 and 5MP OV5642 are the absolute best and only camera solutions that offer both the highest specification and premium multi-camera abilities, the unbeatable versatility of these two camera modules will make the entire family of 1000+ STM32 MCUs accessible to numerous computer vision innovations.
2MP OV2640 & 5MP OV5642 for All Series of STM32 Dev Boards
Other than the above two cameras, we also offer custom-built SPI camera solutions with any image sensors that can work on any MCUs, we have success stories with high sensitivity AR0130 monochrome sensor for astronomy and ultra-low light performance sensor IMX225 for scientific applications.
How to Use OV2640 & OV5642 Camera Modules w/ Any STM32 Board
Why SPI Camera? STM32 is a family of 32-bit microcontroller integrated circuits by STMicroelectronics. The STM32 chips are grouped into related series that are based around the same 32-bit ARM processor core, such as the Cortex-M33F, Cortex-M7F, Cortex-M4F, Cortex-M3, Cortex-M0+, or Cortex-M0. Learn more. Some STM32 series like STM32F4 and later versions of MCUs have a DCMI peripheral that can be used to interface the STM32 chip directly to […]
Arducam & STM32: Low-Power Camera Systems for Smart IoT and Industry 4.0
By disrupting the camera integration status quo on DCMI-less STM32 microcontrollers, we are opening up a new era of STM32 based embedded vision systems, which, with the combination of Tiny Machine Learning, can be employed for countless MV-based smart IoT applications.
The SPI camera solutions we provide have great potential for resource-constrained use cases, with the help of ultra-low-power STM32 boards and LPWAN technologies like LoRa/NB-IoT, you can quickly create a massive amount of interconnected camera networks that are able to produce real-time feedbacks for smarter decision making and predictive analytics in certain applications, this can benefit many industries (manufacturing/farming/etc.) that require asset management and tracking. And the most amazing thing for a camera system like this is that it only sips nanoamps of current in deep sleep mode and can run for many years of battery power with minimal-to-none maintenance.