Our team’s programmers have gotten the basic controls of the robot coded already, so we’re thinking of tackling the image processing. We clearly have missed the chance to nab the ring light from AndyMark, so I was wondering if anyone knew any good alternatives? Are ring lights the most effective form of lighting? Or would a flashlight right next to the camera be just as effective?
Check out the ring lights here: http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&category=ACCENTS&Page2Disp=%2Fpt%2Fae.html
We got a couple of them - very quick shipping! - and they’re working out great!
If you still want the model of lights that AndyMark sells, you can get them here.
You can make your own. 5mm superbright LEDs on Ebay typically go for about $.02-$.05 each, depending on the color and quantity you purchase.
They’ll typically draw 15-30 mA at 3 volts. Throw in a perfboard and a couple resistors and it’ll cost about $4-5, and provide a nice little project.
Everybody is giving good advice, and to answer your original question, I’ve found LED based flashlights that have a wide spread also work really well. I picked up Home Depot model that has a beam adjustment to allow it to cover the area seen by the camera. I also picked up a version from probably the same store that had a Red, Blue, and White toggle – though the beam was a bit narrow. I’ve also found all sorts of useful lighting near the cash register used for task lighting. Be careful of how you power them, but there are lots of novelty lights that clip onto hat brims as well.