ZeroCam Raspberry Pi Zero NoIR Camera

The ZeroCam NoIR is a tiny camera for the Raspberry Pi Zero that does not have an infrared filter. This kind of camera is more suitable for recording in low light compared to a regular camera. Because of that, it is ideal for recording wildlife in the night time. Or as part of a home security system. Furthermore, it can record even in complete darkness, with the help of an infrared lamp.

If you want to get an all-in-one bundle, check out this camera kit that combines infrared LEDs with a fisheye lens:

noir camera zerocam raspberry pi zero

First, in order to use the ZeroCam, you need to enable the camera interface of the Raspberry Pi. To do that, type in a terminal:

sudo raspi-config

Next, the menu below appear. In there, select option 5 – ‘Interfacing Options’:

enable camera zerocam raspberry pi zero

Then select the first option to enable the camera interface:

Raspbian already has some libraries to enable you to use the camera module. To capture a picture and save it as image.jpg:

raspistill -o image.jpg

To take a 10 seconds video and save it to video.h264 file:

raspivid -o video.h264 -t 10000

For full documentation of the camera module, see the official guide.

Here is an example of how this camera works in normal light. The plant pots are originally blue. However, with a NoIR camera, the colors are a bit desaturated:

zerocam noir light picture

Finally, below it’s the same picture. Only this time it’s in complete darkness, illuminated by an infrared LED. Additionally, I used the exposure setting, and set it to ‘night’.

zerocam noir darkness picture

If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi Zero, but a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, you can still connect the ZeroCam. For that you need an adapter. In my future posts, I will show how to use this camera to create a streaming server and to create security system with a PIR sensor.


HC-SR04 distance sensor Python code on Orange Pi

Connect the HC-SR04 to Orange Pi

The HC-SR04 is a cheap and easy to use sensor, used to measure distance with ultrasound. It can be used in many projects where you trigger an action based on an object or person entering an area, like an “alarm”, as I showed in my previous post. Also, you often see this sensor as part of more interesting projects such as robots, like this one.

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Personal cloud storage on the Orange Pi

Set up the personal cloud service

One cool and practical project you can do on an Orange Pi or a Raspberry Pi is to set up a free, personal and “on-premise” version of Dropbox. This will allow you, among other things, to share files between your different devices. Additionally, you can automatically upload any new pictures from your phone to the cloud storage. In this tutorial you will learn to install the private cloud server software, configure it and sync files from a mobile device. I tested these steps on the Orange Pi and I assume this will also work on the Raspberry Pi. We will store the data on and external device, like a USB flash drive or external HDD, connected to the Orange Pi.

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Ultrasonic distance sensor

Connect the ultrasonic sensor to the Orange Pi

In this tutorial we will learn how to connect a HC-SR04 ultrasonic range sensor to the Orange Pi. This sensor measures distance from the sensor to an object by using ultrasounds. This is similar to how animal echolocation works, for example bats navigating in total darkness. Also, it’s how the submarine’s sonar detects objects under the sea.

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Install Hadoop on the Orange Pi

Install Java on Orange Pi

Let’s put the yellow elephant on the Orange Pi! Hadoop is a framework for distributed data storage and processing used in big data applications. We will set up a single node Hadoop cluster on the Orange Pi. This may or may not be practical in a production environment, but it’s a good way to learn to configure Hadoop, load a file on the hdfs and run a MapReduce job.

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Touchscreen display on Raspberry Pi

Attach the display directly to the GPIO pins

So I just got a 5 inch 800×480 HDMI touchscreen display. It comes with a CD with the drivers, a small HDMI connector, a touch pen, and it has a nice back light control switch.

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