StyleCam Snap Hack

I bought a very cheap digital camera from Maplin (website: www.maplin.co.uk) for only 9.99 and hacked it such that I can control it with a PICmicro (see www.microchip.com). This could be incorporated into the robot to take pictures at a regular interval or in communication with the rangefinder could photograph objects it encounters. I could also mount it on a water rocket to try and take a video clip or series of photos while in flight or even strap it to my brothers airhog (link: www.paramountzone.com/airhog.htm) but I think the plane flies too fast for the little camera, which can take blurry images with a slightly jittery hand.

The hack comprised of running wires from the two buttons (power/mode and trigger) to an opto-isolator (a photo-transistor paired with a LED). A PIC micro-controller is wired to the opto-isolator and can now control the camera. The camera runs off one AAA battery so directly connecting the PIC (running at 5volts) to the camera would have been a bad idea.


(click on image for larger, annotated image)


(click on image for larger, annotated image)


The cameras original mount was connected to a servo to give panning capabilities.


View of the back shows the dual opto-isolator.


Better view of the back of the camera.

In the process of moving house I threw this camera out. I also attempted a similar operation on a Sony Cybershot but I wasn't able to tap into the power or trigger buttons due to the way they had been made and splicing the cables was impossible as it used plastic with a copper trace instead of wire/ribbon cable.
Perhaps I'll look into a wifi webcam for taking photos/recording video of my robots movements.