[ros-users] call for an official ROS USB camera package

Bill Morris morris at ee.ccny.cuny.edu
Fri Feb 18 04:41:52 UTC 2011

On Thu, 2011-02-17 at 11:00 -0500, Ken Tossell wrote: 
> I've been working on a libusb-based USB video class (UVC) camera
> driver mainly for the reason of supporting OS X and xBSD. I also find
> that the Video4Linux-based control system is usually awkward to work
> with when it's being used to present UVC controls in a generic way.

Have you looked at the source for guvcview? It seems to handle V4L
controls pretty well. I know there is at least 2 different ways
autofocus can be controlled for different hardware but I think this was
an issue between UVC 1.0 and UVC 1.1.

I'm not sure V4L is worth throwing out, but OS X and BSD support would
be nice. I think it may be reasonable to have three semi overlapping
official drivers, gscam, a libusb based UVC driver and a V4L based UVC
driver. Those three drivers should support 100% of the usb camera worth
supporting on all of the desired platforms.

> It's not ready for testing, but I would be interested in putting it
> out for a preliminary API review in order to help guide development. I
> think I'll assemble some information and see if the ROS community
> would help with that.

Where possible, I would like the camera controls to be abstracted so
computer vision code can control the brightness of 1394 cameras and usb
cameras the same way. 

I would also like to see the driver eventually support exclusive MJPEG
compressed video output direct from the camera so the images can be
streamed over the network without the CPU overhead of decompression and
recompression. The Skype certified webcams are starting to come out and
certification requires hardware compression so we may be able to h.264
or WebM straight out of the camera. 

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