Tag Archive for 'gsoc'

v4l2 camera module now in Pygame SVN

My Google Summer of Code Project has finally grown up and flown out of my personal git repo to enter the Pygame SVN. All development will now occur there, though I will leave my git up for archival purposes.

The project is a module for Pygame to support v4l2 cameras. The impetus for this was to make the webcam on the OLPC XO usable without intimate knowledge of GStreamer, and to allow for some basic computer vision. The module does, however, support many camera pixelformats beyond those used on the XO, and is pretty flexible to adding new ones.

At the moment, there is no support for v4l cameras beyond detecting that they are attached to the computer, and there is no support at all for Windows or OS X. René Dudfield is starting work on Windows support using directshow. OS X support will come eventually.

The API documentation for the module is pretty thorough, but I haven’t uploaded any tutorials or example scripts yet. For now, you can look at some of the scripts I’ve posted on this blog.

Pixel Perfect Collision between Real and Virtual Objects in Pygame

bouncy ball

The Quick Version:
I wrote a few scripts to test the possibility of using pixel perfect collision detection in pygame to allow for interactions between real life and on screen objects.  They require the installation of my branch of pygame, which includes support for v4l2 cameras.  The download links for the scripts (including OLPC versions) and pygame source are at the bottom of the post.

The Verbose and Occasionally Tangential Version:

Joel Stanley of OLPC sent me a patch for my GSoC project a few days ago, along with a link to a picture of an exhibit at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, in which a person can manipulate virtual falling sand with his or her shadow.  That is exactly the kind of killer tech demo I’ve been looking for for my project.  The kind of thing that anyone could pick up in an instant and realize the beauty of human computer interaction.  Of course, the museum setup had a controlled environment, a projector, a screen, and probably a whole lot of processing power.  I have hundreds of thousands of kids around the world on 433mhz laptops.

At first, in response to Joel’s email, I had just planned to describe how to get the equivalent of the shadow.  It obviously could not require a projector, a screen, a uniformly colored background (green screen), or even a consistant source of light to project a shadow.  Instead, this requires an initial calibration step.  When the scripts start, they wait for the user to hit a button.  The user should then get out of view of the camera, so it only sees the background.  It then waits a couple seconds and takes a picture of the background.  The shadow is then created by thresholding frames currently being captured against the original background image.  This actually works pretty well as long as the background isn’t moving.  So, play it with the camera facing a wall if possible.

I had planned to just leave it at that, but then I figured since I already have that written, might as well just add a few lines of code to see if I could do pixel collisions between the shadow and objects on screen.  Nothing complicated like sand, just a bubble on screen that the user pops.  When this worked, I decided to extend it by having it place a new bubble on a random spot of the screen whenever one is popped.  A few minutes later, my friend stopped by and asked what the hell I was doing jumping around in the middle of the room.  I told her about the vision stuff, and then we both started jumping around in the middle of the room, popping fake bubbles.  Who would have thought something that simple could be fun?  That script is Pop Bubbles; you can download it at the bottom of the post and jump around your own room.

I thought I might be finished there, but it was still a far cry from the sand demo that Joel saw.  I decided making the bubble move could be fun, so I added a fixed “velocity” of pixels that the bubble would move every frame if it wasn’t popped.  It would be pretty silly if it kept going off the edge of the screen, so turned the edges into “walls” that would reverse the x or y velocity if the ball hit them.  I then tried adding “gravity” by having the y velocity increase one step downward each frame, which turned the bubble into a ball.  Then I added some inelasticity by decreasing the velocity a little upon impacting walls.  Since the bubble was now pretty much a bouncy ball, I made it no longer pop upon hitting the shadow.  Instead, it would bounce off the shadow in the opposite direction of where the shadow hit the ball, also adding some more velocity.  By this point, I had a hideous doppelganger of physics that would make Newton wish he never saw an apple tree.  This is what Bouncy Ball is, at the bottom of the post.  Try it at your own risk.  It is absurdly glitchy, and really only responds well to slow movements.

This still isn’t quite what the sand demo is, but I think it comes close enough to prove that it would be possible in Pygame.  The biggest thing that is necessary is a real physics engine, which Zhang Fan is currently working on for Pygame as a GSoC project.  Its likely that I will need to extend the bitmask module in pygame to make things like pinching an object possible.  If anyone wants to improve this stuff, please do, there is a lot of room for it.  I’d be happy to help out any way I can.  I do hope to have something closer to the sand demo by the end of the summer.

As a note to OLPC users, I know its pretty inconvenient to have to build the library on the XO.  I’m still working on packaging an .rpm and an .xo that contains all of my demo scripts.  Also, for now, to get it running at a usable speed on the XO, it has to be at 320×240, which makes it pretty un-immersive, but I’m working on ways to scale it up without sacrificing much performance.

Download Python Scripts:
Bouncy Ball
Bouncy Ball (OLPC)
Pop Bubbles
Pop Bubbles (OLPC)
Download Pygame with camera module source:
Pygame 1.8.1 with camera module
Checkout Pygame with camera from git:
git clone git://git.n0r.org/git/pygame-nrp

Living Pointillism: A pygame webcam script

Living Pointillism

Living Pointillism is a quick little example script I wrote to showcase the camera module I’m writing for pygame through GSoC.  It places a few dozen points (it automatically changes the number based on the framerate) for every frame of video, so the image is only clear if everything is perfectly still.  This also results in some interesting visual effects when things are in motion.  The screenshot above doesn’t quite capture the essence of it, but I don’t have the kind of bandwidth here to upload a video.

To use it, you need pygame with the camera module, which is currently only available from my repository: http://git.n0r.org/?p=pygame-nrp;a=summary

It runs fairly well on the OLPC XO too, and I’ll release an Activity for it along with an rpm of my branch of pygame soon.

Download: Living Pointillism

Update: This is now available packaged as an OLPC Activity.

Update 2: Pygame with the camera module should now be downloaded from the Pygame SVN.

Pygame Webcam Support

Update: Grab the up to date code in Pygame >1.9.1 from the Pygame repository.

There was a three day weekend here, so I got some real coding done on my GSoC project.

You can pull the code I’m working on from my repository at http://git.n0r.org/?p=pygame-nrp;a=summary

It is currently barely alpha quality, but it supports v4l2 cameras that use MMAP and YUYV or RGB24 pixelformats. That means it’ll work on the OLPC XO, though you’ll need to install gcc, SDL-devel, and probably some other stuff to compile it.

You can open a camera with:
cam = camera.Camera(device, (width, height))
Device in most cases is going to be "/dev/video0". (width, height) will probably be (640, 480).
You then need to start the camera with cam.start().
cam.get_image() will return an RGB Surface.
cam.close() closes the camera if necessary.

The Summer of Nirav

I was heading towards a Summer of George, with full autonomy and empty schedules, but like all Summers of George, this one ended before it started.  Due probably to a lack of self esteem on my part, I abruptly ended up with two opportunities of a lifetime at the end of the semester.  I don’t need to wait until the end of summer to retrospectively observe that I made a rookie mistake here by not choosing between them.

This summer, I’m writing a computer vision library for pygame via One Laptop Per Child via Google Summer of Code.  The admittedly terse and vague project description is at Google Code.  This is the culmination of the comparatively primitive vision experiments I’ve been documenting on this website (or is it the culmination like the tip of an iceburg?).  Anyway, the plan is to start with adding v4l2 support to pygame, pulling frames from the camera buffer as surfarrays.  Next up is adding any vision functions to pygame.transform that could be useful for gaming purposes: connected components, thresholding, centroids, optical flow, convolution, etc (I’m taking requests, if there is something else you want).  Finally, I’ll make a simple example program that uses as many of the functions as possible.  Apparently a lot of people are interested in using webcams in pygame, so this should be a good project.  I’m also going to learn probably more than I ever wanted to about v4l2 drivers, python, and matrix operations.

This summer, I’m also doing tech consulting with the Ministry of Health in Palau via Tech Consulting in the Global Community, a program of TechBridgeWorld.  I don’t yet know the full details of what my colleague and I will be doing, but we will be helping several people in Palau use technology to solve their problems in a way that is sustainable in the long term (awkwardly bludgeoning buzzwords).  This consulting happens to take place in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  This consulting also happens to take place in a country with less bandwidth than the average dorm room.

Until then, I’m decompressing as much as possible for the time wedged between school and life.