Touchscreen point-and-shoot, from Adafruit

LadyAda from Adafruit is one of my very favourite people. We have a tradition of spending at least one evening eating Korean barbecue whenever I visit New York. We have told each other many secrets over bowls of fizzy fermented rice beverage, posed for photographs in front of plastic meats, been filmed pointing at electronics for the New York Times, and behaved very badly together in Pinkberry in September. LadyAda is the perfect combination of super-smart hacker, pink hair and business ninja; her cat Mosfet likes to Skype transatlantically with the Raspberry Pi cat, Mooncake (at least I think that their intense ignoring of each other constitutes “liking”); and we are incredibly fortunate that she saw the Pi and instantly understood what we were trying to do back in 2011. Here she is on the cover of the MagPi. (Click the image to visit the MagPi website, where you can download the issue for free.)

Her business, Adafruit, which employs an army of hackers and makers, does wonderful things with the Pi. They’ve been incredibly helpful to us in getting the word about Raspberry Pi and our educational mission out in North America. Adafruit not only stocks the Raspberry Pi and a whole warehouse-full of compatible electronics; the team also creates some amazing Raspberry Pi add-ons, along with projects and tutorials.

This is Adafruit’s latest Pi project, and it blew our minds.

All the parts you’ll need to create your own point-and-shoot camera using the Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi camera board, and a little touch-screen TFT add-on board that Adafruit have made especially for the Pi, are available from Adafruit (they ship worldwide and are super-friendly). You can also find out how to send your photos to another computer over WiFi, or using Dropbox. As the Adafruit team says:

This isn’t likely to replace your digital camera (or even phone-cam) anytime soon…it’s a simplistic learning exercise and not a polished consumer item…but as the code is open source, you or others might customize it into something your regular camera can’t do.

As always, full instructions on making your own are on the learning section of Adafruit’s website, with a parts list, comprehensive setup instructions, and much more.

Adafruit have been especially prolific this week: we’ll have another project from them to show you in a few days. Thanks to LadyAda, PT, and especially to Phillip Burgess, who engineered this camera project.


bertwert avatar

I really want to get the parts now :)

liz avatar

Looks like this particular tutorial has been so popular that they’re already out of the PiTFT – I’m sure they’ll be back in stock soon, though.

bertwert avatar

At the competition [[Liz – I’ve edited the link out to avoid pain and misery when people try to enter a non-existent competition]]
it says:
The MagPi Entry Form – November 2013

meltwater avatar

Yes MagPi team are aware of this, PCSL are yet to update the page.

The Raspberry Pi Guy avatar

Now that is a very cool project indeed! I have a PiTFT and I think that it is marvellous!

Writing up more Adafruit guides now ;-)


Jason Bramwell avatar

Mosfet is a fantactic cat name.

Ravenous avatar

That’s what I though – though “Bipolar” might be more suited to a cat!

MrPC avatar

LOL Bipolar – what we named our Rat (A$$) Terrier. “Bi” for short…

AndrewS avatar

Neat project. Kinda like a more polished and better-integrated version of

Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

That touch GUI looks very slick. I’m hoping it’s compatible with the ‘Texy’ screen I’ve been working with for RasPiCamcorder mk 3.

Pimoroni now has a case for the PiTFT, so the bits are nearly in place. ;)

I do have a new ‘creative’ way to mount the camera though. Blog incoming in a day or two ;)

Aikidokajeff avatar

I hope so too.
Much more polished than my basic interface:

Jim Manley avatar

I shudder at the thought of the potential “selfies” that will likely result from this. It’s one thing when good-looking celebs make complete fools of themselves, but when us ugly bumpkins turn such technology on ourselves … the only more frightening thought is what Those Darned Cats will be doing with this capability in their paws! :lol:

AndrewS avatar
Ben avatar

they are out of stock for PiTFT Mini Kit – 320×240 2.8″ TFT+Touchscreen for Raspberry Pi –

Andrew Edwards avatar

I’ve just ordered one from in the netherlands and I believe they still have some in stock.

Texy avatar

That’s an interesting little touch screen ;-)


ColinD avatar

Aye, and a darn superb combined h/w + s/w project to learn how consumer digital cameras work too.

BTW am still using your Nokia 3310 shield Texy, It’s going great and always raises a “What’s that?” when I take it with me to demo on The MagPi stand at Bristol Pi events :)

Hanson B avatar

When I saw the camera menus at the bottom my first thoughts were:

1) Oh no, a dragon!
2) How do you wish to slay the dragon?
3) Tap to slay the dragon!

Now if the Raspbery Pi could reveal the secret location of the dragon’s treasure…

ColinD avatar

Photographic evidence that dragons are real.

open door|N|open chest|get all from chest

will always result in the Dragon stopping you from stealing its treasure.

|open door|N|open chest|get all from chest

on the other hand beats the Dragon every time.

Mini-challenge: can anyone say why?

David Hunt avatar

This project is the most impressive 647 (odd) lines of python I’ve seen in a long time. Amazing amount of functionality packed in there. The slick GUI is written using PyGame, an SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) library wrapper. Very easy to use, and if you’re going to draw your own icons, it’s very easy to adapt for your own use. Well Done, Adafruit! :)

Mark Webb avatar

I’ve just ordered one from Adafruit. Looks like they have some in. More fun to follow..

Lukasz avatar

Hi all!
Thats true , this tutorial, idea is very good …. but I get some problem.

at the beginning of an explanation.
I use a 3.2 “LCD (LCD-PI32), because I’m waiting for your LCD will be on sale.

The installation went without problems, but when I type the command
sudo python get an error message.:

“File, line 567, in module pygame.mouse.set_visible (False)
pygame.error: video system not initialized

? how to correct this?

please, help
Lukasz Majewski
(I’m now advanced user)

George avatar

If you did not comment out the lines that set the environment variables for the touchscreen (which it appears that you do not have at the moment), then the error is because it is trying to connect to the device that you do not currently have.

RaspberryPiLCD avatar

I have these touch screen LCDs in stock, built and tested at my site. No need to assemble yourself.

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