Under the microscope: Raspberry Pi camera dissected, given infrared vision


posted Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM EDT

Three weeks ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released an inexpensive five-megapixel camera module for its eponymous credit-card sized computer board, which is designed not only to be compact and affordable, but also to be very easy to hack into your own projects. The Raspberry Pi makes a great educational tool, as well, letting you fiddle around and learn about how computers work without risking damaging expensive hardware.

The camera module extends the Raspberry Pi's capabilities into the realm of visible light imaging, and a lot has already been done with it -- including sending a camera module to the edge of Earth's atmosphere -- but by default, the module is largely insensitive to infrared light. As we mentioned in our recent coverage of a Kickstarter project making a camera capable of monitoring plant health, though, Gary Fletcher of Reading Hackspace has already figured out how to remove the module's infrared cut filter.

Gary provided instructions on how to replicate his feat, and the baton has been picked up by Mathew Lippincott of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science -- the same folks behind the plant camera. After a couple of attempts, Mathew too was successful, and he's just posted a video microscope view of the process, with some more helpful tips on how to defilter your Raspberry Pi camera.

If you're considering making an infrared-capable Raspberry Pi camera, it's well worth a watch. (And we'd love to hear about your project in the comments below!) Many thanks to Mathew for sharing the video with us.

Mathew Lippincott's video shows just how to get your Raspberry Pi camera apart, and strip out its infrared cut filter.