Legality of CMUCam use

As it has been brought up in a number of other threads, why not make a single thread to address it.

IFI Robotics has the CMUCam 2 Rev A for sale, making it a COTS item commercially available to all teams.

It is under the limits and fits the flow chart, this camera is not the one that was included in the 2006 kit, as Rev A was different for 2007.

Therefore the camera would be allowed as long as it is Rev A and purchased from IFI as a COTS item, according to the Parts Use Flowchart and from Section 8.


[LEFT]Additional electronic components for use on the ROBOT must be either COTS items, or

[LEFT]assembled from COTS items. Additional electronic components include any object that
intentionally conducts electricity, other than Innovation First Inc. relays and speed[/LEFT]
controllers, wires, connectors, solder, and fabricated printed circuit boards.


What would u use the camera to track?

Could you please quote the manual? I can’t find that rule…

During autonomous the balls will be placed randomly. For extra points you can bump those, so if you have a camera it makes figuring out which spot the ball is on easier so your autonomous can be fool proof.

Hmm… This seems silly to me… FIRST is all about recycling, so why would they force us all to buy new CMUcams when we have last year’s sitting in the closet! I mean, if we are forced to spend $400 more for a new CMUcam, my team will NOT not use a camera. If we could use last years, we might experiment a bit with it.

This limitation seems very… limiting… and not in a good/interesting way! :frowning:

Hmm… this is intriguing…

I have no idea why someone would want to use one though. (setting it to see IR?) But, intriguing nonetheless.

…also I am interested in possibly using an LCD for real time “debugging”/errors

Is this possible/feasible? Would we have to “steal” the old camera TTL port?

i know Kevin Watson mentioned interfacing an LCD on his website briefly, but i think he meant it as kind of a joke.

well you can make it track different colors other than the green so you could track the balls but then again it might see the flags as a target

First, it’s my understanding that the CMUcam2 (and CMUcam3) can be used in the 2008 game.

With regard to LCDs, I’ve used the text displays and the graphical displays on various 'bots over the past few years.


Possibly if the robocoach had on a bright colored shirt, or held a handheld light, the robot could then use the light to guide itself around the track during hybrid/auton

The only problem I see would be a confusion on the robot’s part. Let’s say you’re on the red alliance, and therefore, tracking a red ball.

Team #EleventyBillion’s spirit section is going NUTS in the stands in their vibrant red shirts. Oops.

Or maybe a FIRST Ambassador is watching the game excitedly, a little too close to the field. Oops.

Or even something like the flags or another team’s bumpers. Oops again!

If you were tracking a real light (ex: all hail the magic green light box) then it’s a little different, as there weren’t many lime green illuminated things near the field. The only thing that could’ve messed you up is MOE! :slight_smile:

I think there are just too many other red or blue things that could distract the camera. If you can do it 100% percent all the time, then more power to you. Just seems like a bit of a time-sucker for me. I know I need all the time I can get this season!

Even if we can see the ball, detect the round-ness of the ball, and guarantee we knew where the ball was, the time it takes to take a single color image is the most prohibitive factor to us using the camera this year. We also had so many problems using the CMUCam last year that we don’t want to touch the thing if we absolutely don’t have to.

I know that other teams experimented with using cameras other than the CMUCam - anyone want to comment on their success with alternative cameras? Is the serial link the primary performance factor?


In the off season I read up on the the Falcon Object Recognition system developed by CD user Eldarion (see thread and website). It uses an FPGA instead of the CMUCam board to track multiple (up to 12) objects. One particular tracking mode, 2 color (Red and Blue) 6 objects per color, seems perfect for this game. Using this system, you should be able to recognize which objects are the large red and blue track balls and which are other red & blue objects (robots, drivers, teams, judges, ambassadors, etc.). Then you should be able to figure out which of the 6 possible combinations of the 2 trackballs in the 3 target locations is in on your overpass and go to the right target location to knock off your trackball. Obviously, I haven’t tried this but it is an interesting challenge for the adventurous programmer.

Despite multiple attempts, we were never successful in getting a CMUCam to track our bright green MOE jerseys like the magic green light box. Even when we turn off the green light, it doesn’t see the jerseys as a valid target (not quite luminous enough, I guess).

Now with the green light gone, we are free to roll out our MOE Green LED Jerseys :smiley:

That just made my day (=
i recently reprogrammed the cmucam3 to track and identify multiple objects

Another thing to consider is the color of light put out by different light sources. Out eyes have no problem seeing colors with different light sources but the camera does.
Our robot used the camera with the green Tetra. If the light changed the camera could not track the tetra.
We also used the camera in Aim High. We had no problem with tracking the Cool Cathode light.
If you can track the red or blue ball at your home field, there is no guarantee you can see it at the regional unless they tell you what the rating of the lights are