Compact VisionCam

Camera Dimensions 133 x 28 x 94mm
Image resolution: 8-megapixel


VisionCams offer the chance to capture long-term recordings of settings without invading privacy. Computer vision triggers and manipulates images, producing stop-action recordings that balance intrigue with insight.

VisionCams take images automatically. The default program takes time-lapse pictures depending on how much movement is detected in the scene and is activated by swivelling the lens cover open. A selection of other programs are also available from the VisionCam software page, each capturing and modifying images in different ways. This allows VisionCams to support a wide range of experimental uses.

Preserving privacy is fundamental to VisionCams. For instance, the default programme saves and displays only the contours of scenes, producing images that are evocative without being invasive. Compact VisionCam is designed to be noticeable when left in place. The display is adjacent to the camera, so it can be seen while images are captured. It takes an image when motion is detected and displays a preview of what it has seen in the form of a looped stop-frame animation on screen. The camera can be left for hours to capture the rhythms and flows of its location, and stopped by closing the lens cover.

The casing for the Compact VisionCam can be printed on all 3D printers without support material. This design is smaller than VisionCam Tall and can be used in portrait or landscape orientations. It requires only off-the-shelf components that you can buy online. Both the Raspberry Pi operating system and the VisionCam software are available as a single disk image, and can be flashed to an SD card in one step. Powered via a USB port, it can be plugged into a mains adaptor or run for hours using a standard USB battery.

There is selection of 3D printable accessories that can be attached to the VisionCams to extend their physical functionality.


List of all the components to assemble the VisionCam Compact


VisionCam Software

Cultural Probe task wrapper

A PDF template to create a specific Cultural Probe task wrapper

List of handy equipment

Small Phillips screwdriver (cross head)
3D printer

Download 3D files to make the case

.stl files (for direct 3D printing) and .step (editable assembly) files

to view and download various file formats
VisionCam Compact, Fusion360




Step 1 Push the lens cover into the front shell of the camera case.

Step 2 Secure the screen to the front panel with 4 of the 6.4mm screws.

Step 3 Connect camera module to the Raspberry Pi. Make sure to match the direction of the camera to the picture. The printed side of the ribbon should face towards the USB ports of the shield.

Step 4 Fold the camera ribbon. Hold the camera and Raspberry Pi shield in position to plan how to fold the ribbon to fit it into the assembly.

Step 5 Screw the camera into the case with 2 of the 6.4mm screws.

Step 6 Copy the VisionCam disk image onto the micro SD Card using the instructions on the Software page.

Step 7 Plug the micro SD card into the Raspberry Pi.

Step 8 Plug the Raspberry Pi into the screen.

Step 9 Close the camera case.

Step 10 Secure the case by inserting 6 of the 9.5mm screws into the back.

Step 11 Connect the micro USB cable into the cameras USB port.

Step 12 Attach an external USB battery (or USB mains charger).

Step 13 Open the camera cover to begin filming.

Optional Attach the battery to the camera with rubber bands. Use 3D printed accessories to position the camera.



How to use

  1. Plug in a USB power supply or battery.

  2. Wait the Raspberry Pi to boot up, the camera is ready to use when the animated icon of the lens cover is displayed on screen.

  3. Open the lens cover by swivelling it left or right to begin recording.

  4. The display will show a looped stop-frame animation of what has been recorded.

  5. To adjust the contrast lines, press the large button to the top right on the screen to enter a ‘settings’ mode which shows a live preview. Press the button on the far left the screen for fewer lines, press the button immediately to the right of this for default lines, and button to the right of this again for more lines. The live preview / settings mode will time out after a short period or can be cancelled at any time by pressing the large button to the top right on the screen again.

  6. Record for as long as you like (note that the camera will stop recording if it is very dark).

  7. Close the lens cover to stop recording.

Download the images from your camera

For instructions on how to download the images and the compiled stop-frame videos from the VisionCam, please head over to the Software page.

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