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Picture of Food Cam

This project was inspired by the food cam project done by the MIT Media Lab. This project is part of the college service Coding For Good at UWCSEA East in Singapore. The goal of this project is to reduce the amount of food wasted by our community by giving people an alternative to throwing away their uneaten food.

The food cam project allows food that would have otherwise been wasted to be placed under a camera, have a photo taken of it and uploaded to Twitter for the entire community to view. Thereby allowing anyone to come to finish off the free food. This instructable will take you on our journey of making and implementing the Food Cam in our school community.

Step 1: Collecting the Electronics

Picture of Collecting the Electronics
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In order to get started with the electronics part of the project, we first need to collect the following list of parts (below). The power bank is optional and only necessary if you require this device to be portable. In our case, we planned to have a stationary product with an extended micro-USB to USB cord supplying power to the Pi. Additionally, the specs of the button do not matter much with the exception of the button being a PTM (push to make) switch or a momentary switch. This will be important later on for the functionality of both the camera and code.

As for the hardware, don't worry about that for now. If you are looking to complete that, skip to step 11.

Here is what you must have as a prerequisite to attempting this project:

1. A Stable Internet Connection

2. HDMI Cable

3. Monitor

4. Mouse

5. USB port

The Electronics (BOM) *Soldering Iron Required:

1x Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

2x LEDs (1x Red, 1x Green)

1x Raspberry Pi Cam (V2.1)

6x Female To Female Wires

1x Big Red Button (PTM)

2x 470 Ohm Resistor

1x Power bank (5500 mAh) (Optional)

1x USB to micro-USB cable

1x Micro SD Card

1x Micro SD Card Reader

inishesh9 days ago
Hello Coding for Good,

Thanks for sharing this. I am doing my school project in installing a Food Cam so the leftovers can be distributed instead of being wasted. I am not a technical person and would love if you could provide me details such as the procedure, cost etc so I can have someone install it for my project. Thank you in advance.
Coding For Good (author)  inishesh8 days ago
Hi Inishesh,

Have a look through the instructable. You will find the parts and instructions inside. As for the cost, we didn't do careful accounting, but I would estimate $150 USD for parts.
@Coding For Good, thanks very much for posting this.

I am interested in building a similar camera for our office but I have practically no experience with the hardware that is required. Do you have any idea of how much the hardware you used to build your camera cost (just the parts, not including the tools)?

Thanks in advance.
Hi Andrew,

Good point. We didn't really keep a Bill of Material for this project so I can only give you an estimate:

Electronics: about 80 USD for the raspberry Pi, microSD card, power supply, big red button, LEDs, Pi camera, power bank

Physical Strucutre: we used scrap from around our workshop, but if you were to buy new I'd estimate 40 USD for the baseboard, arm, and electronics housing
Fantastic, thanks very much for the detailed information.
I really like that idea! Thanks for sharing how you made this :)