ejolson
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Embedded Pi with camera

Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:19 pm

In a previous thread it was posted
doughadfield wrote: There's a clear anomaly in the current line-up of RPi products (Pi2, A+, Zero) in that the A+ is still stuck on 256MB memory. However it's the ideal platform (in every other way) for camera projects. For all other "Model A" uses, obviously the Zero is the best choice (once it's back in stock!!) - however, it lacks the critical camera connector. Therefore, for embedded camera-based projects, only the A+ remains in the lineup. However most camera projects require at least 128MB GPU memory, leaving too little for processing such as motion capture, etc.
which appears to me to be a well reasoned explanation of why the Raspberry Pi foundation might want to consider a model A with more memory or equivalently a Zero with a camera connector. It seems worth discussing the robotics and mobile computing projects that could benefit from a small form factor, at least 512mb of RAM and a camera. I'm posting a new thread focusing on what projects would be enabled by such hardware because the previous thread was closed, apparently due to a forum policy that prohibits speculation by third parties about when new hardware might be announced. My understanding is that such speculation was getting picked up by webcrawlers and misinterpreted as authoritative due to the forum sharing the same domain name as the official website.

At any rate, I built a Raspberry Pi controlled toy car with a Model B some time ago. The GPIO was wired to the existing H-bridges in the car to control the motors with almost no additional hardware or cost, however, one of the larger toy cars was needed in order to fit everything on top of it. This increased expense and meant more floor space was needed to operate the car. The floor space was actually the biggest difficulty because the larger car really only works well in the school cafeteria after all chairs and tables are removed. A Pi the size of the Zero but with a camera connector would allow use of smaller toy cars and much smaller rooms.

I suspect balloon projects would also benefit from smaller and more powerful hardware with a camera connector, but I don't have any experience with balloons.

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chrisoh
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:37 pm

Looks like the other thread was closed as the OP was asking RPF for pre-release information.

I like that your reasoning for a new, more powerful and smaller Pi includes 'being able to use smaller rooms' :lol:

Funnies aside, I would enjoy a future Zero form-factor Pi that includes a CSI connector. Time will tell...
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:45 pm

I consider an A+ with 512MB a distinct possibility...even a probability. It would help with any project that uses the camera, it would save at least a bit of inventory cost, and 256MB modules are probably becoming harder to get and more expensive. I would not be at all startled if a 512MB RAM A+ were to be announced at or around the Pi Birthday Party that is coming up in less than three weeks. If an upgraded A+ came out, it would also slightly ease the demand for Pi Zeros because it would cover those cases that need more memory, CSI, and/or DSI connectors, but are not dependent on extremely low cost or small size.

Note that, due to hardware design issues, you will never see a BCM2835-based board with more than 512MB RAM. So two other--potential--product announcements that are likely sooner or later are a Pi2A board (which might have either 512MB or 1GB RAM) and a CM2 board which would almost certainly have 1GB RAM, and--I think--ought to have 8GB flash.

On the other hand, the possibility of a Pi Zero with a CSI connector is extraordinarily unlikely. If a CSI connector could be added to a Pi Zero without raising the price, either the Foundation would lower the price, or it would increase the profit margin, with the knock on effects of increasing the number made (more attractive to Sony who makes them) and the number and reach of distributors (RS and Farnell might consider it attractive enough to carry). The whole point of the Pi Zero is rock bottom pricing, so adding *anything* that increases cost (and, thus, retail price) is counter to the intended design.

This does not, of course, rule out the idea of a smaller A+ board (though not as small as a Pi Zero), but I don't think that is very likely, either.

ejolson
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:19 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:If an upgraded A+ came out, it would also slightly ease the demand for Pi Zeros because it would cover those cases that need more memory, CSI, and/or DSI connectors, but are not dependent on extremely low cost or small size.
Given the practicality, I also think such hardware will likely appear in the future. In order to avoid speculation that might lead to this thread being closed, it would be great if we could focus on discussing the uses of a small form factor Pi that has a camera connector and at least 512mb RAM. In addition to balloons and Pi controlled toy cars, I think such hardware might also be useful for home security solutions.

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:40 pm

ejolson wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote:If an upgraded A+ came out, it would also slightly ease the demand for Pi Zeros because it would cover those cases that need more memory, CSI, and/or DSI connectors, but are not dependent on extremely low cost or small size.
Given the practicality, I also think such hardware will likely appear in the future. In order to avoid speculation that might lead to this thread being closed, it would be great if we could focus on discussing the uses of a small form factor Pi that has a camera connector and at least 512mb RAM. In addition to balloons and Pi controlled toy cars, I think such hardware might also be useful for home security solutions.
So you want to discuss a non existent product ?
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ejolson
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:48 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:So you want to discuss a non existent product ?
Exactly. If there was a Zero sized board with camera connector, I would immediately look into smaller toy cars upon which the smaller computer and camera could be mounted. Because of the smaller size, such a car could be used in smaller rooms indoors, which would be very useful.

What would you do?

ladius
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Re: Embedded Pi with camera

Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:33 pm

I'd definitely be first in line to buy a Pi A with 512MB RAM and/or a Pi Zero with camera connector... As long it is smaller than Pi B/B+/B 2, has 512MB RAM and camera connector I'm in.

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:33 pm

ejolson wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote:So you want to discuss a non existent product ?
Exactly. If there was a Zero sized board with camera connector, I would immediately look into smaller toy cars upon which the smaller computer and camera could be mounted. Because of the smaller size, such a car could be used in smaller rooms indoors, which would be very useful.

What would you do?
Find an alternative product which suits my needs, I am sure in day to day life that is what one does when buying goods..
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Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C SoC as used in ASUS Chromebook C201 & Chromebook Flip C100PA as well as the Tinker SBC

ejolson
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:32 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
ejolson wrote:What would you do?
Find an alternative product which suits my needs, I am sure in day to day life that is what one does when buying goods..
Fair enough. Considering the already small size and power requirements of a Pi 2B, the applications where even smaller size and power requirements make a difference are likely quite specialized. That is exactly the point of this thread and why a discussion of such applications is interesting.

It is also worth considering the difference between the consumer culture that buys what is available and the maker culture that creates what is not.

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Burngate
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Re: Comparison Raspberry Pi models

Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:28 am

ejolson wrote:It is also worth considering the difference between the consumer culture that buys what is available and the maker culture that creates what is not.
... and in that respect, we're all consumers rather than makers when it comes to Pi-varieties.

My own take on this sort of thread is that we're just sticking our hands up in the hope that, when the Foundation are discussing where to go next, they take notice of us.
Though, on past performance, they probably already know what we want before we think of it ourselves, and have already designed next year's Pi.

My guess is it's an Aleph-Zer0, at $2, without the GPIO header but with the CSI & DSI connectors (they'd fit in the same space).
But I could be wrong. 8-)

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