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Better Camera Modules

Posted by Kwabena Agyeman on

Hi Folks!

We've got a lot of content for you in this update. Let's get to it!

First, from around the web! Something awesome! Please congratulate Team Roboticus for winning the Notional Dutch Championship in Robotic Soccer using an OpenMV Cam to power their robot! They are now going to the world championship in Bordeaux and the European Championship in Croatia.

If you'd like know to more you can go to their blog here!

OpenMV Cam RT Update

MacroFab has finished our production samples and will be sending them to us this week! Once we get them in hand we'll be focused on board bring-up this month before shipping the samples out to folks who want to have an alpha experience. If this is you we still have production samples available for purchase.

OpenMV Cam RT

Hopefully, board bringup goes well and we are able to greenlight the production run in June to build 2K initial units and make the OpenMV Cam RT a reality.

OpenMV Cam RT

In the mean-time we've figured out the final price of the OpenMV Cam RT and you can pre-order it now!

OpenMV Cam RT Product Page

Please note that we will be converting all OpenMV Cam H7 Plus pre-orders over as credit to the OpenMV Cam RT.

Better Camera Modules

Moving on, along with launching the OpenMV Cam RT with new and improved shields we're also updating our camera module lineup! Folks have been asking for better stuff for a while. So, we're going to offer support for many great sensors from OnSemi!

HDR Camera Support

HDR cameras are extremely useful for doing computer vision outside. Generally, whenever the sun pops into view it's going to destroy your image quality and cause parts of your image to blow out. HDR camera sensors seamlessly handle these situations for you:

So, we're going to expand our camera lineup to support HDR imaging potentially using the AR0231, AR0147, or AR0132. All support >120 dB of dynamic range at over 30 FPS at full resolution compared to the OV5640 which has just 70 dB of dynamic range.

This means these cameras can see a car in front of the sun while you are coming out of a tunnel. Something tough even for our eyes to handle.


Cost is pretty high on the modules so we'll try to have a 1MP option that's slightly more affordable and a high-end 2MP option. Note that the cameras pair with an OnSemi ISP board that stacks below the camera module before connecting to the OpenMV Cam (which will be included with the camera).

Color Global Shutter Camera Support

We've had the MT9V034 Global Shutter camera sensor on sale for a while and folks have loved it. So, it's time to support the new AR0234, AR0144, and AR0135 line of global shutter cameras from OnSemi.

Like with the HDR cameras we'll support a more affordable 1MP option along with a high end 2MP option for folks. The cameras will also pair with a stackable ISP board from OnSemi so we'll be able to support crystal clear color images by default.

Global Shutter

So, what's the cost going to be for these amazing camera modules? Unfortunately, not cheap, but, worth it. We want to make it easier for you all to build real applications with your OpenMV Cam's and this starts with us providing sensors that can work in challenging environments - like being able to see outside from indoors! (Try it with your phone on a sunny day from a dark room and be disappointed).

Triggering and Strobe Support

And finally! Best of all, these new camera modules will all support triggering and strobe support. This means you can trigger these cameras either from your OpenMV Cam RT directly or from an external source via P10 on your OpenMV Cam. By default all the shields mentioned in the previous blog post have a sync input line that goes directly to the camera trigger to allow you to hookup your OpenMV Cam to a 0-36V trigger input to let your camera know when to capture a picture.

But! Even better, we've routed the strobe output from the camera modules back to an I/O pin on your OpenMV Cam (the MISO pin on the SPI bus in our camera modules) which will allow you to receive an interrupt EXACTLY when the camera module starts it's exposure. This will allow you to turn on LED's and etc. to help image capture only when needed. Additionally, you'll know exactly when the camera module started to take an image so you can timestamp things appropriately.

A note on Low-Power

Keeping with our working low-power theme when you toggle PWDN now this turns off the regulators on the camera module and ISP board which will result in no current draw when you need to put things into low power mode.

OpenMV IDE 3.0.3 Release

Finally, I'll end out the update with mentioning that OpenMV IDE 3.0.3 is now available! The new IDE has a bunch of general bug fixes and some new features to make people's lives easier like Auto-Reconnect which allows the IDE to automatically connect to an OpenMV Cam without stopping the main script.

Moving on, this is the last version of the IDE which will have 32-bit Operating System support. I will be working on updating the Qt Libraries and QtCreator which we use as our IDE base. We've had a lot of issues that have been piling up over the years as the IDE software has grown out of date that we are finally going to fix. However, 32-bit support was dropped a long time ago by Qt. So, once we finish with the update we will no longer be able to offer it. Hopefully, this isn't a problem for anyone.

Anyway, that's all folks!