ArduCam announces a low-cost TOF Camera - ROS2 Interface?

I wonder if this low-cost Raspberry Pi Camera from Arducam would be useful in a ROS2 robot and what you might use it for, given it’s feature set.

I see that it’s on Kickstarter for $29.
LINK: ArduCam Time Of Flight Camera for Raspberry Pi

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Very interesting! I might have to pick one up.

Initial thoughts:

  • The price is good but I wonder if the functionality is limited given…
    • Depth only (unless there’s some separate ambient light detection?)
    • Max range 4m
    • Resolution 240x180
  • Being a drop-in replacement for the Pi camera is convenient but I suppose limits accessibility a bit for other platforms.
  • Interesting they say it just uses the v4l2 driver. Presumably it won’t be too difficult to then convert that to a depth image for ROS (I see they have ROS support as a milestone goal).
  • Hopefully allows for some very-low-cost depth-camera SLAM for small indoor environments. At that price it could even make for a point-lidar/ultrasonic replacement on some beginner robots where a bit more detail or accuracy is needed.

I’m interested to see what other applications people come up with for it.
@ijnek potentially it could be useful in small-scale robot sports?

Edit: I suppose given that the kickstarter is 40% of MSRP, it might not be quite as accessible for low-end robots once it’s released. Still, it seems impressive for the price!

Thanks for the quick response, Josh. As a low-cost camera, it’s probably worth the risk, both to support Arducam and to see what it can do. I have a few of their other specialty cameras and they seem to get it when it comes to features/performance.

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