One of the main advancements we wanted to make this year was to change our camera to a smart cam. The particular model we had in sight (pardon the pun) had a global shutter (very good for robots) instead of the rolling shutter we had the last years. Additionally it featured a whopping 700 MHz on-board DSP (digital signal processor) which would have been great to apply some algorithms outside the main computer board. Luckily for us, Vision Components kindly sponsored the 6210nano cameras. Unfortunately getting such an advanced camera to work in an already complex system, combined with the efforts to have to build up a new robot team, proved to be too time-consuming to finish it before RoboCup.
Though we are still looking forward to using the smart cams – hopefully integrating them over the summer – we made the hard choice to go the easy route for now. As we already had all the code available from last year’s preparations to use any V4L2 camera with our robots, we decided to switch to a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 webcam for this year’s RoboCup.
The Quickcam is a good choice for a robot as it provides good quality images at a framerate of 30 pictures per second (VGA). It also comes with a big image sensor (1/3″) and luckily for us we were able to mount our lens on it without any additional modifications. Unfortunately the camera has only a rolling shutter and we still need to do all processing on the main board. However for this year this will be okay as the new on-board computer is still powerful enough to handle it.