My first Raspberry Pi

We put it together today, me and my nerdy daughter and my very excited granddaughter, who had to inspect each of the components.

She had to teach me a little (very little) Python, but we got it working with a little script to take time lapse images. That’s the camera at the top, and the two eyeballs are IR LEDs. The plan is to do a test run when I get back and see if we can record night-time spider activity with it. The spiders are very sneaky, and when I see them during the day they’re usually lounging about, doing little unless some prey falls into their web, but every morning I see the cages more densely matted with cobwebs, so it would be nice to watch them at work.

The images aren’t bad for such a minuscule lens. The test will be to see if I can get enough depth of field to get a sense of their 3-dimensional construction methods.

(If you’re curious, that’s the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit and the UNIROI Raspberry Pi Camera Module.)


  1. whheydt says

    I would assume that you’re using a “NoIR” camera module. In any case, welcome to a large and interesting world. I suspect that the 4GB Pi4B (aka Pi4B4) is overkill for what you’re doing, but you can do a lot more with it. You will probably want to at least browse the Pi forums at

    Oh, and… The people behind that Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, is a UK educational non-profit.

  2. littlejohn says

    Don’t feel bad. Everyone misspells “minuscule.” Just remember is contains the word “minus.”

  3. says

    I saw the fancy new camera, but decided to go with the version that was half the price and didn’t expect me to buy a c-mount lens…which would have to lack an IR filter, too. If resolution is inadequate, I can replace it later.

  4. whheydt says

    Re: PZ Myers @ #5…
    Yes. You can get the earlier camera modules without the IR filter. On the new one, you’d have to remove it. Also…the native mount is actually CS (the video standard), but it comes with a C-mount adapter.

    One of these times I’m going to get the HQ camera. I have an old 16mm cine camera and a bunch of C-mount lenses, including a 63mm macro lens. Another lens that would be fun to play with (for which I’d need an OM adapter, which runs about $30) is a 600mm catadiotric lens.

  5. says

    I used the raspberry Pi NoIR camera in the lab to take pics and movies of my planarians. I have to say it saved me a lot of money on the behaviour set-up.

  6. whheydt says

    RE: herve @ #7…
    Using a Pi to do nearly anything will save a lot of money over whatever the conventional alternative is. The major exception would be using a Pi where an Arduino (or equivalent) would suffice.

    Personally, I use a pair of Pis–currently Pi4B4s–as the back end servers for a convention registration system. With two of them, and a replicated database, I’ve eliminated a potential single point of failure on the cheap. (Top line Pi, plus USB to SATA adapter, plus HP 120GB SSD, plus cables is about $100 per server.)

  7. says

    I use one to run a air traffic feeder. I pick up ADS-B signals from planes up to about 150 miles away and feed them to Flightaware’s website. Biggest expense was having to rebuild the antenna mast after underestimating desert zephyr wind loads.

  8. davidc1 says

    Don’t understand all the tech stuff ,so i am just going to laugh at Raspberry Pi.
    HAHA .

  9. whheydt says

    Re: davidc1 @ #10…
    The Raspberry Pi has succeeded in its primary–original–purpose. That was to increase the number (and quality) of students applying to Cambridge to study Computer Science. The amazing thing is everything else the Pis have managed to do along to way.

  10. JimB says

    Just about anything you want to automate, at home or at work, can be done with a Raspberry Pi. Cheaply. To see some of the projects people work on google magpi magazine. All issues are free in pdf format.

    Just like PZ, I can’t wait to get my granddaughter interested in computers. I’ve got to wait a bit though as she’s only 48 days old. Harumph!

  11. davidc1 says

    @12 Magpi magazine ,worth another chuckle .She picked a fine time to enter the world ,hope you all are keeping safe .
    @11 Thanks ,i will have to investigate .

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    I use a Raspberry Pi connected to my 3D printer and a webcam so I can set up and monitor my print jobs remotely. That, is, until a falling roll of filament damaged the printer’s USB port; and I JUST replaced that motherboard! (Grumble)