I would like to "formally" announce two open source projects related to optical flow / programmable vision sensors. These are based on some of the optical flow techniques developed at Centeye, but in the spirit of "open source" are meant to be hacked/modified/copied any way a user deems fit. In both cases, the source code has been opened up under a modified FreeBSD license, while the board design has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, the same license that applies to the Arduino boards.
The first project is the CYE8 sensor, an optical flow sensor based on an Atmel ATmega644 (possibly to be replaced by an ATmega1284) 8-bit processor, and using a Faraya64plus sensor head. (A "sensor head" is a vision chip wire bonded to a 9mm x 9mm PCB with a board to board connector on the other side.) We fabricated our first two iterations last year (the first one described here), and are now readying the third iteration this month.
The hardware of the second project was introduced in a recent blog post and is based on the Sparkfun Arduino Pro Mini platform (which uses a similar but smaller Atmel microcontroller) and comprises a simple shield board that interfaces the Arduino with a sensor head. Currently we have used only a FarayaSmall sensor head, but this board will support other chips as well.
At the current time, these projects are hosted on another open Ning network Embedded Eye, since we are trying to capture a broad set of applications beyond drones. If these projects take off, we can set up Huddle spaces accessible across both Ning networks, or move the project elsewhere. (I'll take suggestions- I'm still learning about how to do projects like this.) The CYE8 project is located here and the Arduino-based project is located here. These forum pages include initial board designs and source codes.
Based on interest, we will likely also launch projects built around an Atmel AVR32 processor (faster than the AVR8's) and/or an XMOS quad-core processor (if you have real need for speed).
One common theme of these two projects (which has strengths and weaknesses) is that they utilize vision / image sensor chips designed by Centeye. (This is not a requirement of the license- it is just how they were designed.) The strengths are that since we designed the vision chips, we can probably reveal as many details of the inner workings of these chips as we want. We all have heard complaints of chip manufacturers being too vague about what is inside, so I hope that this is a welcome change. The weakness is that we basically have to burn new wafers every time we want more sensors, so they are not as available as, say, a part from Digikey.
We are actually going to start a new run of silicon soon with the intent of increasing manufacturing quantity. It is tempting to use this as an opportunity to explore semi-open chips designs. I'd be happy to share a (virtual/real) beer with anyone interested in discussing (whether here, at EE, or directly) the various issues associated with the design and manufacture of chips of this type.
I look forward to speaking with everyone soon!