Hack of the Whenever I Get Around to It

February 11, 2008

Penny Opto-recognition Software

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 1:42 am

Penny Opto-recognition Software (POS) is my first excursion into optical image recognition. It is a software program which reads images from any Video4Linux-supported webcam and processes the image to discover the positions of several pennies within the field of view. A geometric representation of the recognized positions is displayed on the screen. Also recognized is a red translucent spoon which is used as a pointer to both digitally and physically manipulate the pennies.

The video is quite self-explanatory:

For the bandwidth-impaired, here are some photos of the system in action:

front view

side view

top view
Source code may be found here: https://guinness.cs.stevens-tech.edu/~cmerck/camera_hacks/
The pennyfix.c file is the one demonstrated here.
The camhacks.c file is an improvement of the peep-hole camera software. More on that in an upcoming post.


  1. Very cool Navaburo…
    I’m trying to think what this could be used for… perhaps a rudimentary ‘multi-touch’ interface of some sort…with pennies as the inputs… hehe…
    keep up the good work!

    Comment by Tyler — May 2, 2008 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

  2. i’m interested in getting some help regarding setting up a spycam as you’ve described -reaching into a hallway.
    would you agree to a conversation about it?
    please use my email address.
    thanks, dresden doll

    Comment by haute — June 3, 2008 @ 12:49 am | Reply

  3. Certainly,
    I am often on irc, OFTC and/or Freenode using the handle “navaburo” (possibly with underscores). Try PM-ing me.

    Comment by navaburo — June 4, 2008 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

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