CoCoFEST! Challenge: An AI camera project?

John Linville recently announced a CoCoFEST! Challenge on the CoCo Crew Podcast Facebook page. The idea is to start and complete a new CoCo project between February 15, 2020 and April 1, 2020 (day after Valentine’s Day through April Fools Day). The project doesn’t even have to be technical (he uses the example of designing a dust cover for a Multi-Pak).

I’ve been thinking about this since I have dozens of past experiments that could easily turn into new projects. But I also thought it might be an excuse to start “yet another” experiment specifically for this challenge.

HuskyLens and case from DFRobot.

Recently I took possession of a HuskyLens from DFRobot. It is an AI camera device that started out as a Kickstarter project last year. The tiny gadget includes a camera, touch screen, and AI software that can do things like:

  • Object Tracking – teach it what an object looks like, and it will track its position when it is in front of the camera.
  • Face Recognition – teach it a face and it will identify when it sees that face.
  • Object Recognition – identify built in objects (dog, cat, etc.) or teach it to recognize new ones.
  • Line Tracking – identify a line (useful for a line following robot).
  • Color Recognition – teach and identify specific colors.
  • Tag Recognition – identify low-resolution QR-code style tags.

I acquired a HuskyLens specifically for Halloween projects, but since it communicates to a host computer over serial, it could be interfaced to a CoCo using a cheap TTL-to-RS232 adapter like my CoCoWiFi and SirSound projects use.

HuskyLens in case, attached to mount.

Since the slowest speed the HuskyLens firmware communicates with is 9600 baud, I’d have to do this using an RS-232 Pak under NitrOS-9 (so I could easily do it in BASIC09 or C), else I’d have to resort to assembly language under RS-DOS. If I go the assembly route, I’d have to see what code I could find to handle 9600 baud via bitbanger, else the RS-232 Pak would still be required.

Bitbanger is quite out of my wellhouse, since the only bitbanger code I’ve ever worked with was a remote terminal driver published in Rainbow that I modified to add features to. The RS-232 Pak I could probably handle since my first commercial program was a MIDI Librarian for a CoCo MIDI Pak and I wrote code for a much faster baud rate (31,500).

It wouldn’t be pretty, but I think I could make it work.

The question is … what does one do with an AI camera hooked to the CoCo? Perhaps…

  • CoCo Face ID – auto-log in to NitrOS-9 by face. (Not a security feature, since a photo would also work, but still neat.)
  • Visual Game Launcher – hold up a ROM-Pak and have it launch the program off of a CoCoSDC drive image.
  • Gestures Game – use gestures (rather than a keyboard/joystick) to interact with a game.

What can you think of? Ideas are appreciated…

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