When building a camera from scratch, an Arduino board might not be the first thing you think of. There are, however, several Arduino compatible camera units. Let’s take a look at the available options.

1.Task Cam [больше не доступен]: 3D printed digital camera

Digital camera sales tripled between 2003 and 2008, until smartphones made a difference and digital cameras quickly became popular. It’s easy to see why phones are targeted at users precisely based on their cameras. After all, it’s much easier to have only one device to carry.

Sign in to TaskCam. Specifically targeted at the artists and consumer electronics market, it is ideal for those who prefer to build their own cameras.

The simple yet elegant print edition of TaskCam 3D is designed to mimic the feel of a disposable camera, with some notable differences. The Arduino Uno is the brains of the operation. The TaskCam screen provides a screen for posting «tasks» to the user along with a battery holster, SD card slot and camera unit. All of this fits perfectly into a 3D printed case or case of your own design!

Designed for use in public places to take photos based on prompts, TaskCam is a new take on digital photography. The best? The project is open source, so you can download schematics from CircuitMaker for free and make your own PCB. 3D printing is designed for even budget printers, making it a great starter 3D printing project. Our guide to 3D printing help you through the process!

2. ArduCAM and ESP8266 home surveillance

ArduCAM is an SPI module designed for use with microcontrollers. The modules operate at low enough voltage to be powered directly from Arduino pins, but provide an output resolution high enough for a variety of applications.

This makes ArduCAM SPI devices ideal for remote video surveillance at home. This is the approach user dmainmon from Instructables uses in his ESP8266 powered camera with a web interface:

In the Instructable project, dmainmon replaces the Arduino board with a compatible but better equipped ESP8266. (We also think the ESP8266 outperforms the Arduino!) This makes the camera wireless, and the included code supports static images and video streaming to the browser.

This assembly is just one step away from an automated surveillance system. However, advanced IFTTT users (our IFTTT guide) can use the plugin to periodically save images to Dropbox.

3. Auto-turret: Robot Desktop Sniper

Few things are cooler than an auto-tracking robot arm. One of them is a foam pistol. Combining several parts from Trossen Robotic’s RobrosGeek line, this auto color-tracking robot sniper table uses a Pixy camera module in conjunction with an Arduino to track its targets.

The Trossen Robotics team’s guide to the Arduino Project Hub covers every element for setting up an autonomous aiming robot. They also provide a link to purchase all the parts needed to build it. Although there are cheaper options for the new Arduino robotics project. this one wins points for being very, very cool.

4. Arduino Yun Motion Activated Camera

Arduino-powered camera tower
Image credit: lady of hell / adafruit.com

Although the Arduino Yun camera is similar to the ESP8266 security camera presented earlier in this article, it has a significant difference. It connects to the board via USB.

This has several distinct advantages. USB webcams are readily available and many budget USB video devices are on the budget end of the spectrum. This makes this project ideal for those who want to tinker with Arduino based cameras without buying expensive parts they may never use.

When the motion sensor is triggered, the webcam images are stored on Yun’s SD card before being uploaded to the user’s Dropbox via Temboo for later viewing. The setup also allows you to stream videos directly to YouTube, making this project not just another home security system, but a unique live streaming method.

However, this method has a caveat. The Arduino Yun has been «removed» by the Arduino project, and although the boards are still available from third party vendors, they may not be easy to find. However, some clone boards that will perform a similar function and Arduino shields such as the Dragino Yun Shield are designed to provide the same functionality as the original Arduino Yun.

5. Arduino voice-controlled robot

Having a robot to order is one of the best feelings in the world. While it may be a while before we can accidentally ask our robot butler to cook us a meal, a little trick can get you an obedient little robot worker today!

KureBas Robotics has combined voice activation, a cheap action camera, and a two-wheeled gun robot to create their Arduino desk cleaning robot.

By combining the action camera’s Wi-Fi functionality with a Bluetooth system to control the robot’s motion, KureBas used a reusable camera rather than an expensive microcontroller-only unit. Remote control of the robot along with voice activation is made possible by the Android application developed by the project developer, which can be downloaded from the tutorial page.

More DIY Camera Projects to Explore

There are many DIY camera projects which do not use Arduino, but for fully integrated projects, the Arduino platform, along with other similar microcontrollers, adds a new element to digital photography.

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