Help with Hardware for a .NET Gadgeteer Project

Please help a newbie out…

I’m diving head first into .NET Gadgeteer and I’m trying to figure out the best combination of hardware for my project. I’m attempting to develop a small foot print device (handheld) where I can:

[ul]Incorporate a small CMOS/CCD Camera Module
Display realtime video feed on a 3-4 in LCD screen
Monitor device orientation with an accelerometer
Allow simply user input via a joystick, 3-4 buttons
Display overlay images (graphical, etc.) on the same LCD based on user and sensor feedback
Save image stills to an SD card (minus the overlays?)[/ul]

I figure I need a mainboard that has some horse power to display the video feed (320x, 640x?) on a suitably sized LCD screen, and also the said graphics. Please help me get started in the right direction and not dump a lot of cash into hardware that will not get me to where I must go.


Welcome to the forum lcreasy123

First question, what video rate are you expecting?

Personally, the video aspect implies to me that you need to be looking at the Spider, as it has the best support for the USB webcam, but no matter what you may run into problems with framerates. If you go outside a known video capable device, there’s a good chance you will not be able to make a netmf device handle this.

The only other thing that might be a challenge is overlays into the video but I think that should be achievable on Spider, again depending on how much data you intend to push out how often.


Thanks so much for responding. As far as frame rate, I’d expect something similar to a digital camera viewer screen. I’d rather do a little processing of the raw image stream as possible, mainly just displaying it.

Do you feel the above is feasible on the Spider?

Just so long as you realise that netmf is not real time, so you can’t guarantee that the response/framerate will remain consistent. Video is always hard… these boards use “general” processors NOT dedicated / customised chips designed for a specific behaviour like a pocket digital camera is.

If I had no pressing need, I would contemplate waiting for a G120 based system that may be available later this year. But certainly to prove the concept, in a not-too-shabby form factor, a Spider and T35 sound like it might well suit your needs.

I think I follow you. If the main function of the package was to display the video stream on the screen, with some very light back ground functions, do you think the FPS would remain fairly constant on the Spider?

Would a ChipworkX SoM provide any faster response time? Or the FEZ Hydra with the faster processor?

Thanks again!

Video needs its own set of requirements which is not found on embedded systems. But, you can get stream of images that maybe enough for your needs.

If you look here it says 20fps on smaller images. On 320x240 you will get about 5 I think. So you will be able to do all you asked for but not video.

Look at this video showing the image stream. I think it will be enough for what you need.

This si an old video, this has been available for a long time now.


The video is not showing up on my old computer. Do you have the http link to it’s location? I’ll take a look to see what the performance appears to be. Again, I need to see what’s the camera is seeing, primarily in real time.


USB webcam support on GHI NETMF devices - YouTube is the youtube link.

Thanks Brett for the link.

Gus, I think the responsiveness looks good. If the image is scaled to fit the screen, does the FPS go in the toilet? I also saw a YT video of a Hydra running multiple displays. Is that a faster system?

I have already answered this :slight_smile: 30fps with smaller image and 5fps with full screen.

Hydra is faster but it does not support those cameras. FEZ Spider is the only options and is the best option today. You can have multiple displays on spider like you saw on hydra.

By the way, I am sure you will use these kits for may uses beside what you are asking for so it should be a good investment.