The Raspberry Pi lets you get your own universal shutter camera for $50

Universal shutter sensors without aberration or distortion have been promised as the future of cameras for years now, but so far only a handful of products with this technology have come to market. Now, the Raspberry Pi is offering a 1.6MP universal shutter camera module for hobbyists for $50, providing a platform for machine vision, amateur photography, and more.

The Raspberry Pi Global Shutter Camera uses a 6.3mm Sony IMX296 sensor, and requires a Raspberry Pi board with a CSI camera connector. Like other universal shutter sensors, it works by pairing each pixel with an analog storage element, so that light signals can be captured and stored by all pixels simultaneously.

By comparison, regular CMOS sensors read and store captured light in pixels from top to bottom and left to right. This can cause diagonal skew on fast-moving targets, or very strange distortion on rotating objects like propellers. The video below shows the difference with plucked guitar strings.

By eliminating these issues, the new camera allows for distortion-free capture of things like sports or fast-moving industrial processes. The company says the relatively low resolution isn’t an issue, as video is usually downsized before being fed into machine vision systems anyway. It uses the same C/CS lens mount as the Raspberry Pi’s high-end 12MP camera, so you can attach both 6mm CS mount and 16mm C-mount CGL lenses offered through the company’s reseller partners.

If you’re interested but concerned about delays, the Raspberry Pi recently posted that it’s working on a supply chain issue. “We expect supply to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2023, and to be unlimited in the second half of the year,” she said in a December blog post. The Global Shutter is now available for purchase for $50.

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