Stereoscopic photography with StereoPi and a Raspberry Pi

StereoPi allows users to attached two Camera Modules to their Raspberry Pi Compute Module — it’s a great tool for building stereoscopic cameras, 360º monitors, and virtual reality rigs.

StereoPi draft 1

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My love for stereoscopic photography goes way back

My great-uncle Eric was a keen stereoscopic photographer and member of The Stereoscopic Society. Every memory I have of visiting him includes looking at his latest stereo creations through a pair of gorgeously antique-looking, wooden viewers. And I’ve since inherited the beautiful mahogany viewing cabinet that used to stand in his dining room.

It looks like this, but fancier

Stereoscopic photography has always fascinated me. Two images that seem identical suddenly become, as if by magic, a three-dimensional wonder. As a child, I couldn’t make sense of it. And even now, while I do understand how it actually works, it remains magical in my mind — like fairies at the bottom of the garden. Or magnets.

So it’s no wonder that I was instantly taken with StereoPi when I stumbled across its crowdfunding campaign on Twitter. Having wanted to make a Pi-based stereoscopic camera ever since I joined the organisation, but not knowing how best to go about it, I thought this new board seemed ideal for me.

The StereoPi board

Despite its name, StereoPi is more than just a stereoscopic camera board. How to attach two Camera Modules to a Raspberry Pi is a question people ask us frequently and for various projects, from home security systems to robots, cameras, and VR.

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

The board attaches to any version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, including the newly released CM3+, and you can use it in conjunction with Raspbian to control it via the Python module picamera.

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G. Project site: http://StereoPi.com

When it comes to what you can do with StereoPi, the possibilities are almost endless: mount two wide-angle lenses for 360º recording, build a VR rig to test out virtual reality games, or, as I plan to do, build a stereoscopic camera!

It’s on Crowd Supply now!

StereoPi is currently available to back on Crowd Supply, and purchase options start from $69. At 69% funded with 30 days still to go, we have faith that the StereoPi project will reach its goal and make its way into the world of impressive Raspberry Pi add-ons.

16 comments

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Nice small package. Do you plan cases with sn adjustable stereo base and selected pairs of cameras as well?

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I e-mailed them and they will be making their files available soon so you can print out your own case.

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They released the link for their case:
http://wiki.stereopi.com/index.php?title=StereoPi_Mechanics

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The image snapped in to 3D nicely, even without a mirror stereoscope. Overlap looks good.

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The real question is: How do you synchronize the two cameras so that they capture their images at exactly the same point in time, an absolute requirement for shooting stereo pairs that include moving objects (such as any pictures with people in them)?

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The official camera apps already include support for 3D mode https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/raspbian/applications/camera.md

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We use synchronization implemented in Raspbian kernel. Here is the discussion on Raspberry Pi forum: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=85012#p612743

It is a very popular question, so we put our answer in our last update here: https://www.crowdsupply.com/virt2real/stereopi/updates/funded-mechanical-drawings-synchronizing-cameras-and-more

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I’ve been looking at how I could do this using two Raspberry Pis, but the problem was how to keep the cameras in sync. Looks like this is the perfect solution, two cameras on one Raspberry Pi.

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Will this work on a normal Raspberry Pi 3B?

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@Ryan Brucass, No. It works with all the different versions of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module which is basically the brains of the Raspberry Pi. They advertised it coming with the Compute Module 3 Lite but they are looking to upgrade it to the Compute Module 3+ Lite.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/compute-module-3-lite/

https://www.crowdsupply.com/virt2real/stereopi/updates/hardware-details-for-diy-ninjas

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Hi, I have a doubt. the operating system that I had in my raspberry Pi 3B, does not work on my raspberry Pi 3B +, it has no image or audio compatibility, only the color screen remains but the system does not load.
What should I do to solve this problem?

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Hi Jessica. It sounds like your operating system isn’t up-to-date. Pop your SD back in your 3 and update it to the latest operating system. This video will show you what to do – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9KlLxtMTOA

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I see a video where the StereoPI interfaced with the Oculus GO. How was that done wirelessly? I do not see a wifi or bluetooth module on the StereoPI. Also what software pluggin was used to do so? This will be my first app once I receive the kit ! :)
Thanks for the great work !
Chuck

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Chuck, one of our StereoPi owners already repeated this experiment. You can find discussion here on our forum: http://forum.stereopi.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&p=83#p83
Now we’re looking for some programmer with native Oculus Go application experience, and plan to do open-source Oculus application. If you know one – please let us know. :-)

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For my project I need a larger than 30 cm distance between cameras. Will they work in sync with longer cables?

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