Development of a low-cost, user-customizable, high-speed camera
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High-speed imaging equipment can be an expensive investment, especially when certain applications require custom solutions. In this paper, we present a low-cost high-speed prototype camera built on a low-end Zynq-7000 System-on-Chip (SoC) platform and off-the-shelf components with the aim of removing the entry barrier into various high-speed imaging applications. The camera is standalone (does not require a host computer) and can achieve 211 frames per second (fps) at its maximum resolution of 1280x1024, and up to 2329 fps at a 256x256 resolution. With a current cost of only several hundred dollars and resource utilization of ~5%, the open-source design's modularity and customizability allows users with sufficient hardware or programming experience to modify the camera to suit their needs, potentially driving the cost lower. This can be done by utilizing the large remaining programmable logic for custom image processing algorithms, creating user interface software on the CPU, attaching extensions through the peripheral Module connections, or creating custom carrier or daughter boards. The development and design of the camera is described and a figure-of-merit is presented to provide a value assessment of some available commercial high-speed cameras against which our camera is competitive. Finally, the camera was tested to record low frequency spatial vibration and was found to be useful in investigating phenotypes associated with aging in a leading animal model, the nematode (worm) Caenorhabditis elegans.
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