Getting Into Camera Development

So a friend of mine is interested in getting into camera development "mainly security cameras" and he asked me where do you start?, where do you kits ( hardware and software).

frankly I have no Idea as all of the 2 kits I have were given to me. and google is not being very nice to my search results at the moment. short of spelunking around alibaba I haven't seen anything available in the US.

Any one have ideas where to get started or do you have to sign on with a manufacturer to get kits? what is the process in general ?


Do you mean like development kits to create your own product?

Does he want to do hardware development, or just write some kind of software/analytics for an already on the market camera?

In either case, is he *sure* he wants to do this? ;)

I believe hes looking for for enough information to convince him that just because he made a "security camera" out of a raspberry pi that it is a whole different thing to take existing hardware and build the software onto it.

I know Texas Instruments has some already built kits for this but I believe hes looking into building his own Camera from a available hardware ( i.e CMOS imager main processor board with encoder chips, power supply board, etc) can you even build a camera like a PC? most of the ones I have seen that can have addons or be built are the"box" style ones.

I believe no one is sure they want to develop anything till they see whats really involved. buts that just my personal experience.

Camera from a available hardware ( i.e CMOS imager main processor board with encoder chips, power supply board, etc) can you even build a camera like a PC?

Actually, you sort of can, but not in exactly the same way.

Companies like Ambarella will often have development kits and can work with you to assemble a prototype unit (provided of course you're likely to commit to something like 10,000 or 100,000 units at some point).

There are other companies in China that do a PC-like build-your-own-camera offering, where you can select components from a menu and they can build you say a 5MP camera with a motorized lens and 24 IR LEDs using a particular imager or chipset.

But really, there is no money to be made trying to bring a camera to market. You can already get a 1080p camera (of potential questionable quality) from China for $15-$20. You can get a *good* 1080p camera for $100. This comes from very high volume, which your friend won't be able to reach.

These days, designing a camera is more about software than hardware. There is potential innovation to be done with web UI's, onboard recording and management, off-site recording/viewing, easy setup and so forth.

I'd encourage him to take the same route Dropcam did in the beginning: write new firmware for an existing camera. Then if the project actually takes off you can explore doing custom hardware.

Companies like Vicon have open-sourced some of their code, and you can use binwalk to "open source" most other camera firmwares. Start with the software, don't worry about hardware because that game has already been won/lost.

that is more along the lines of what I was thinking and what I have seen.

buy a camera, image it/add features

start from there go to the storage end, VMS etc.

just have to get root access to the camera and roll with it from there I guess

thanks I will forward what I found out to him

buy a camera, image it/add features

In that case, maybe buy an Axis camera and do VAPIX/ACAP?