Public Lab Research note

Design Specifications for Field Camera

by tonyc | July 07, 2016 19:01 07 Jul 19:01 | #13266 | #13266

What I want to do

Establish a set of design specs for a field-deployable time lapse camera, based on real-life use-cases.

My attempt and results

From conversations with @mathew and @gretchengehrke, I"ve taken a first pass at a list of design goals.

  • should be waterproof, able to survive inclimate weather.
  • should be able to record photos at 10 minute intervals for minimum of 30 days without recharge.
  • should be able to have data removed and battery replaced/recharged in the field by a non-technical user.
  • should be able to be mounted to a variety of bases, in urban and natural environments.
  • should be of a minimum of 8MP resolution.
  • should have total BOM cost of less than $100.
  • should provide accurate time stamp or ability to determine time/date for every photo

stretch goals (nice but not necessary):

  • solar power
  • gps geotagging
  • camo in natural setting
  • camo in urban setting.
  • able to preview shot
  • able to exchange lenses, using standard M12 lens thread.

Questions and next steps

discuss tweaks or additions here in this thread, to compile into a revised set of specs. Then we can answer the question: is there existing hardware that does this? And if not, we can map out our own plan to make something that does.

Why I'm interested

I've been tinkering with hardware for a trap cam, but I want to make sure development work is heading toward clear goals set by real-world use cases.


@tonyc, @mathew, @warren, @stevie, @donblair: I think an additional stretch goal that would be worthwhile is to be able to control the trap cam with a microcomputer that receives input from a sensor (e.g. so a turbidity spike could turn on the camera).

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