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This 3D-printed DIY camera includes interchangeable lenses and sensor

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Electronics engineer Gaurav Singh has created an open-source USB 3.0 camera. Better still, the compact camera uses interchangeable lenses and sensors.

As described at Hackster.io, Singh’s camera design features a pair of main boards, one for processing, and the other USB, which drive a third interchangeable sensor board. You can easily swap out the sensor board, so the camera is flexible and can be tuned to your needs, so long as you find parts that will work with the other components.

Since Singh employs a stacked board design, the camera also has a small footprint. Each board is 27 x 27mm, and the camera is essentially a cube. The USB controller board communicates with your PC, and the field programmable gate array (FPGA) board handles the processing to allow the USB controller board and image sensor board to communicate. As of now, Singh has one camera module PCB designed. It’s compatible with Sony IMX290, IMX327 and IMX462 image sensors. These sensors have the same resolution – around 2MP – and footprint. These are all 16:9 aspect ratio Full HD resolution 1/2.8″-type sensors, with a diagonal of around 6.45mm, giving crop factors of 6.7x.

As DIY Photography writes, ‘It’s a fairly involved project, with each of the PCBs being six-layer boards to cope with the amount of complexity they need to deal with in such a small and compact size. But those three tiny PCBs all fit inside a 3D printed case with an aluminum thread mount on the front for mounting the lens and a hole in the back for the Type-C USB connectivity for power and data communication.’

While Sing has designed the camera primarily for industrial use, it could be used for other applications. It could be used as a webcam, or with some modifications, you could use it for gathering time-lapse image data or as a trail or surveillance camera.

Since the project is open-source, all the required files are available. On Singh’s website, you’ll find files for the PCBs, and 3D printed parts. The code to power the camera is available on GitHub.


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