Building a Photo Booth: Part IV


In the previous posts (Parts I, II and III) I discussed setting up the Raspberry Pi and camera, taking and compiling photos to make a photostrip, and automatically uploading pictures to Flickr. In this post we deal with hardware. The input/output for the photo booth should be exceptionally simple: a light will indicate that the photo booth is ready to take pictures and a single button will start taking pictures.

The Raspberry Pi basic input/output easy through the GPIO pins on the Pi’s board. I found the following tutorials very helpful: Morse Code on an LED and Buttons and Switches. Using these tutorials as a guide, I found that the following circuit should allow all of the functionality the photo booth requires:


Here is what the test circuit looks like in real life:


In order to get the circuit to communicate with the Pi, I used the GPIO library for Python included in the Pi’s operating system. Here is a snippet of code that will wait for the button to be pressed, then flash the LED and take a picture

import time  
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO  
from subprocess import call

# set input/output pins
out_pin = 4  
in_pin = 17

# wait time parameters
pause_time = 0.5  
bounce_time = 0.05

# setup GPIO pins
GPIO.setup(out_pin, GPIO.OUT)  
GPIO.setup(in_pin, GPIO.IN)

# take pictures -- this will be more elaborate later
def take_pictures():  
    call(["raspistill", "--timeout", "1000", "--output", "pic1.jpg"])

# wait for button press, flash light, and take a picture
prev_input = 0  
while True:  
    input = GPIO.input(in_pin)
    if ((not prev_input) and input):
        print("Button Pressed")
        GPIO.output(out_pin, GPIO.HIGH)
        GPIO.output(out_pin, GPIO.LOW)
    prev_input = input


Everything worked with the circuit on the breadboard, so I decided to solder the circuit onto a small perf board. The end result turned out looking much nicer despite my rather crude soldering.


In the next (and final) installment, I will put all of the code together for a fully functional photo booth. Hopefully I will have time to make a pretty box to house it.

Will Rosenbaum

Tel Aviv

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