Cheap alternative for the Axis Camera


Well my teem needs another camera for a different robot, but we don’t want to pay for a new axis camera, does anyone happen to know of a cheap one that will work?


Because of your fairly low team number (539), you might be able to find a CMUCam2 or CMUCam1 for that matter. These can interface with most microcontrollers and are a decent alternative.

If you want something that’s compatible with the cRIO, you’ll need a network (IP) camera. If you want to use the FRC vision tools, it’ll have to be an Axis camera or something using the same protocols. The M1011 is probably the least expensive model currently available; the best price I’ve seen for one is about $150.

All I want it to do is be able to transmit (directly) back to the DS Laptop (even if it doesnt work with the DS itself (prob will access using ip)).

and if i am bored and want even better speed might hook up to seperate Wifi on robot; so one that can be accessed via 2nd Robot wifi (even usb if it works).

dont kno, may just try a typical usb video chat one (seein if i can access it)

I’m not sure what USB port you’re planning on plugging it into…

USB cameras typically stream back RGB, or perhaps YUV based pixel info uncompressed. It is not so great transmitting that over a network. Luckily, the IP cameras are designed for this by compressing as they acquire, and transmitting JPGs, an MJPG stream, MP4 stream, etc. This cuts the network load by a factor of ten, raises the price of the camera slightly, and adds some latency to the image stream.

About five IP cameras were reviewed for use on the robot, and the Axis had a good price, good sensor, decent lens, and the lowest latency. You can certainly use other IP cameras, but the WPI camera code for configuring and retrieving the images are built using the Axis Vapix web services, so you’ll need to do that part again. There are of course other options such as putting a laptop on the robot to compress the USB camera’s stream and transmit it, and if you have a free laptop, that may be cheaper than an Axis camera. You can also by an RF security cam and get the signal into desktop computers via the conversion card. There are lots of ways to do this for offseason, and a number of ways that would have been field legal under last year’s rules. The Axis camera is still the easiest, IMO.

Greg McKaskle

Greg McKaskle