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AprilTag Marker Tracking!

Hey folks, if you thought QR Code detection was the best the OpenMV Cam M7 can do, well think again. We now have the state-of-the-art AprilTags Marker Tracking code running on the OpenMV Cam M7. Check this awesomeness out!

So, AprilTags are like giant low resolution QR Codes which just encode an ID number. The benefit of using AprilTags over QR Codes, however, is that since they don't encode a lot of bits they can be seen from very far away. Additionally, AprilTags are translation, rotation, scale, shear, and lighting invariant basically meaning that your OpenMV Cam M7 never has a problem detecting them. This is in contrast to color tracking which is not lighting invariant and fails if the lighting changes too much for what color tracking thresholds you trained your OpenMV Cam on.

Anyway, so what values does your OpenMV Cam return when it sees an AprilTag? Well, we give you the bounding box around the AprilTag, the centroid, the rotation of the tag, the ID code of the tag, the family of tags the tag was from, and a quality value (0-1) to let you know how well the tag was detected. The AprilTag code also computes the pose of the tag which is useful for Augmented Reality situations which you can get if you'd like by modifying our firmware to dump it.

Moving on, we've also built an AprilTag generator into OpenMV IDE. When we searched online for how to generate AprilTags there wasn't any slick website available for this task like there are for QR Codes - so we made our own. Our AprilTag generator creates nice 8.5"x11" 96 DPI images for you to print out to track. The images we generate are png images so you can edit them freely and combine a bunch onto one print if you'd like smaller tags. Additionally, since the tags are just square black and white values you can also enlarge them to be as big as you want without scaling issues. Note that the AprilTag software needs a white boarder around the black rectangle to find the tag. All our images contain this boarder but you won't see it on a white background.

AprilTag

OpenMV Cam M7 Manufacturing Status

We've completed the new firmware and application software for our programming jig and are just waiting on the thing to be built to test with it. MacroFab expects to be able to do this either this week or the next. Once we've tested the jig and we're able to run 2 panels of 20 OpenMV Cams through the it we'll start manufacturing 1000 OpenMV Cam M7 units. We expect everything to go smoothly. In the mean time please keep the OpenMV Cam M7 pre-orders coming!

Why is AprilTags support a big deal?

So, AprilTags Marker Tracking is state-of-the art (research paper) machine vision software - and we're able to run it on the STM32F7 processor - this has never been done before (to my knowledge). This is new. And by new I mean we're running software with allocates hundreds of megabytes of RAM normally on a processor with just 512KB. Anyway, you're now going to be able to track fiducial markers super robustly in a small-form-factor without using a lot of power. So, tracking with AprilTags is now just 5 minutes of work with your OpenMV Cam and OpenMV IDE.

Note that we're not supporting AprilTags on the OpenMV Cam M4. It can run on that processor, but, only at an 80x60 resolution. Additionally, we'd have to make space in the flash for about 64KB of new code which we don't have available so a bunch of features would have to be dropped to make space.

OpenMV IDE v1.4.0 and Firmware v2.1.0 Released!

QR Code Support for everyone is finally here! OpenMV IDE v1.4.0 w/ Firmware v2.1.0 with QR Code Support is now available for download. In addition to QR Code support we've fixed a ton of other things too - in particular:

  • New ORB Keypoints support for generic object recognition.
  • Faster find_blobs() functionality with a new blob object.
  • A keypoints editor in OpenMV IDE for ORB keypoints.
  • And... a new Color Threshold Editor in OpenMV IDE:

Threshold Editor

With the new Threshold Editor you'll be able to more easily determine the best color tracking settings for your OpenMV Cam. You can capture an image from either the frame buffer or from a file. Once the image is loaded you can then play with the color tracking settings until you think you have the best bounds for an object. Once you have the best bounds simply copy and paste the threshold settings into your script.

In addition to the new Threshold Editor we've also updated our color tracking scripts to show you how to use your OpenMV Cam more effectively. Moreover, we've also added Arduino SPI/I2C interfacing scripts for everyone to use to hook up their OpenMV Cam as a slave device to another microcontroller.

Documentation Updated

Finally! Our documentation is up to date (and it will stay that way). Check it out here. The quick reference is more detailed, the module reference has been updated, and we even now have some tutorial pages up. The updated documentation is also included with OpenMV IDE.

Better Bootloader

Last, we've updated our bootloader to work on more computers. Please help us test it out on our forums here.

The OpenMV Cam on a uArm

Hi Everybody,

We've reached another milestone today with the OpenMV Cam being available as a reward for the uArm on Indiegogo.

uArm w/ OpenMV

Yes, they asked for some cross promotion and we agreed because it's just fantastic that the OpenMV Cam is now appearing in more places! With a uArm for your OpenMV Cam you'll be able to make cool projects like this automatic Face Tracking fan below:

uArm

Anyway, we're looking forwards to what people will do in the future with this kind of tech - automated 3D printer part inspection and removal comes to mind by using the OpenMV Cam to control the robot arm.

OpenMV Cam M7 News

Moving on, for the OpenMV Cam M7 we've finished prototyping and now have a model without any issues. We had to run an extra prototype to get the board capacitance right for the image sensor analog voltage stability.

So, the order for 40 boards along with a new test jig that can program 20 boards at a time has been placed. Hopefully MacroFab will have everything assembled and ready to test sometime in late February so we can verify our process is ready for mass production. After this we'll do an order for 1000 boards and start to ship OpenMV Cam M7s as they come off the manufacturing line.

In the mean time we'll keep pre-orders open at the $55 dollar price until we have the OpenMV Cam M7 in stock for general availability.

Big Software Update

We're almost ready to release a new version of the OpenMV Cam firmware with QR Code support. In fact, we've already done the firmware release on GitHub but we're in the process of getting everything ready still in OpenMV IDE. You'll see another email about the release once it's done in a few days.