Archive for February, 2013

Logitech Webcam on Pi

I’ve been thinking about using a Pi at the makerspace to run some digital signage, including a big display indicating who the on-duty volunteer is for the space when we have open hours. So this got me thinking about having the persons picture up on the display along with their name and other stuff, which led to wanting a camera for the Pi that could take the person’s picture.

Digging in, it was pretty simple to get the basic webcam stuff working on the Pi. It’s not *fast*, but 1 – 2 fps is fine for verifying that it works. To get the webcam stuff running, I plugged in the webcam (a generic Logitech webcam – don’t know the model and the kernel doesn’t seem to know either) I used:

  • sudo apt-get install guvcview uvccapture
  • sudo usermod -a -G video pi
  • sudo modprobe uvcvideo

Then REBOOT the Pi. When it boots, you can start a live webcam window using:

  • guvcview

However, if you just want to capture frames as jpegs, what is tried is:

  • uvccapture -x640 -y480 -q75 

However, this turns out to give a very posterized / oversaturated / artistic crazy picture that has all the colors screwed up. What I found is that it was setting the Gain, Brightness, Contrast and Saturation to MAXIMUM values, which naturally results in crazy. Searching the interwebs turned up some decent parameters, but I found that using the following command line seemed to allow the cam to auto-expose the pictures correctly most of the time:

  • uccapture -x640 -y480 -q75 -B128 -S32 -C32 -G0

I’m not sure if these are “magic numbers” that tell the camera to try to figure out the settings for itself, but it seems to work pretty well. Below is a snapshot of the desktop running the guvcview software with some nice recursion.



February 23, 2013 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Makerspace Launch – Snowmageddon Edition!

Today was the soft-launch / founding members event for the Tech Valley Center of Gravity Makerspace (merging the Capital District Makerspace). The original plan was for me to fly back from Photonics West in San Francisco to Albany on Friday, but mother nature and the monkeys at US Airways had other ideas. Due to the grossly overblown forecast for the Capital District of NY, my flight reservations were cancelled and I was re-booked for Sunday. So I would not be able to attend the launch event.

However, we don’t give up that easily, and thanks to a home-built audio system made by Corbin, and the power of Skype, I was able to join virtually and say a few words anyway. The long and short of it is even though the weather was unpleasant, and publicity was word-of-mouth and guerilla marketing, we had over 120+ people show up for the founding event, and signed up 55+ new members (the final official tally will have to wait until I get back). Truly amazing!

The suspicion that there was tremendous pent-up demand for a Makerspace in the Capital District has now been confirmed, and now we have to rise to the challenge of meeting that demand. I’m excited to see how the community continues to grow, and looking forward to helping make it happen!

February 10, 2013 at 3:12 am Leave a comment

Make a Makerspace workshop

I’m at the Make a Makerspace workshop being run by Artisan’s Asylum and Make magazine. Yesterday was the first full day of content, and my brain is still sore from the deluge of information. Sections on business models, business plans, safety, liability, things Not To Do (TM), and all around advice and tools for setting up a Makerspace were plentiful, and it’s given me alot to think about as Capital District Makerspace (soon to be Tech Valley Center of Gravity) prepares for our soft-launch of our inaugural location at 35 4th St, Troy, NY. 

The whole workshop has been very well organized and executed, and I hope that they make this an annual event that can help new Makerspaces get off the ground. More on this later, time to head off for breakfast and then the Sunday sessions!

February 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Flickr Photos