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Raspberry Pi 360 Challenge

Announcing the Unofficial Guide “Raspberry Pi 360” Challenge!

Hi all!

We’re excited about using a Raspberry Pi to control a RICOH THETA over a USB cable. We’ve done some of this ourselves, but keep hearing new cool projects from the community. Submit your idea here on how to use the USB API to connect a Raspberry Pi 3 and a RICOH THETA camera. And you’ll get a chance to win a Raspberry Pi 3 from the Unofficial Guide!

Possible Ideas:

  • Month-long time-lapse
  • Surveillance
  • IoT
  • Integration with external sensor
  • LUX meter
  • GPS

Completed Projects

  • Photosphere - time lapse. permanent installation in remote location. PoE. Raspberry Pi 2. Bash
  • tlapser - Raspberry Pi, Adafruit LUX meter, GPS, bash,

Winning Idea gets Raspberry Pi 3 to use with THETA

  • Must have access to a THETA
  • The prize is for the best idea. You don’t need to build the project to submit your idea. You can win with just the idea, but it needs to be feasible based on the THETA S limitations.
  • Post your answers HERE as responses to this post
  • Be creative! The more thought and details you put into it, the better
  • We’ll do our part, too! The Unofficial Guide will help prepare some OS and sample code examples


Limitations of API

Live Streaming
The API is used only for still images and video saved to file. If your idea uses live streaming, then you won’t be able to use the USB API. You can still submit your idea and be eligible for the prize. As the THETA S doesn’t support the full UVC 1.5 specification, we’ve had some problems with streaming through the Raspberry Pi. The Linux kernel only supports UVC 1.1. Read more about the issue here. The THETA should work with the Raspberry Pi at 720p @ 15fps using MotionJPEG

Power On
The USB API cannot be used to power on the THETA

Orientation Data
The API can’t access the internal camera orientation data


I already covered the month long time lapse challenge, does this disqualify me. :slight_smile:


You absolutely qualify.

We still have a Rasbperry Pi to give out


I want to collaborate with another idea:
I’m a video post-producer so I put my interest in this area. I think a great idea would be to create or use a tracking software and green screen on Raspberry to be able to use Theta with special effects in real time.

Like this:
but in 360!!!

It would have excellent use in journalism and live streaming

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Hey @Pablo_Gaiazzi, this is a really cool idea. I like that video, it really shows what you’re thinking about. Have you tried anything like this with a THETA or other 360 degree cameras? Do you have access to a THETA?

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Stereo Panorama :slight_smile:

When shooting video the best thing is to tricker both Cameras at the same time
wireless to prevent cables to be seen in the video
could be done with a Rasbperry Pi
or render 2 synchronized tracks on the Video editor timeline

Details; we made room for cables i think the distance between the cameras should be shorter and the cameras should be parallel

EDIT: Locknut against the THETA housing to be able getting the right angles on the Theta

2 WiFi connections has to be connected when shooting
DIRECT-6aH6:HDR-… are the Sony HDR-AS200V actioncam

Regards Svendus

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yes I have theta S, and made this video with
I don´t understan how can I post a reply to your message in the forum

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You Just click reply on @jcasman reply :slight_smile:

May be a better stereo mount
wonder the distance between the lenses
holes must be made in the bracket for wires if cables shall be used :slight_smile:

Sketchup Dropbox link

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Yes, I thought of using something like that, but I do not have 2 cameras.

Nice idea. Are you following this work by Katsuhiko Inoue?

A good first step with this is to plug two THETAs into one Raspberry Pi and see if the Raspberry Pi can find both cameras with libptp over the USB cable.

I think a good first step would be something like this on Raspian:

Verify Computer finds Camera as USB Devices

$ lsusb
Bus 003 Device 009: ID 05ca:0366 Ricoh Co., Ltd

Verify ptpcam Can Connect to Camera

First verify that ptpcam can connect to the camera.

$ ptpcam -i

Camera information
  manufacturer: Ricoh Company, Ltd.
  serial number: '00010093'
  device version: 01.42
  extension ID: 0x00000006
  extension description: (null)
  extension version: 0x006e

This thread indicates that it’s probably possible.

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I think this is an idea with a lot of potential. At TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015, one of the entries put special effects on the THETA still images.

The lead organizer for the Bay Area Android Developers Meetup and another team member, from “360FX,” developed a filter app for the RICOH THETA S. Basically, Instagram for 360 degree images and videos. When the filters were applied, they accurately kept the 360 degree perspective of the photospheres. They used a video from that morning, driving across the Bay Bridge, we stitched the video together for them, and they demoed the filters up on stage.

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Examble The Sony HDR-AS200V action cam and the PlayMemoryes mobile can conneckt up to Five Cameras at a time with preview while filming (WiFi connected)
the software can even synchronize 4 picture in picture videos
shall try the new setup tomorrow :slight_smile:

Made a new setup this morning
Please clean the browser cache if you have seen the page earlier.:slight_smile:
The setup are with 2 Thetas vertical in Stereo and 2 128 Megapixel DSLR images one 100 Pixel offset
the CC between the THETAS are 70mm 2.76 inches

Note: on iPhone save the panorama to your home screen and start it from there vertical and then turn it horizontal
to get it running full screen

Regards Svendus

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Nice job with that. Thanks for the contribution.

The sad thing are that Apple are some kind of deep sleeping on 360 Cardboard dreams
iOS 10.2.1 will not display full-screen automatically when triggered
You have to turn your head down the right site and then rise it up
to make the screen free from menus
when you get pain in the neck
you go for an Android Phone :grinning: :innocent:

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Final Day to Submit Your Idea

I’ll be working with undergraduate students this semester to write a nodejs service for the pi to capture 360 timelapses. Very much like @khufkens awesome project. We’ll hopefully be doing captures for the EucFACE forest experiment in Sydney and also for on campus events where we want to use long exposures to help add privacy by blurring faces.

FYI you can connect and charge the Ricoh Theta via USB to a Pi and STILL access the Theta’s full OSC API over wifi.

You simply need to use a USB charging only cable. Basically the data pins are shorted together from the device side, or buy one for $5 on ebay.

Here’s our little test setup. Notice the red power AND the blue wifi indicators are still lit up on the Theta. And it reports ‘charging’ from an OSC state query.

So we’ll be working with the OSC API not the ptpcam USB driver.

Hint: next time I won’t buy a USB charging cable with a 90degree connector *doh*

Cheers, Andrew | Wonderama Lab | Western Sydney University


Challenge Submission is Closed

Thank you for participating in the fun, exchange of ideas, and learning.
We will announce the challenge winner within a week.

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Team at Western Sydney University Wins Raspberry Pi 360 Challenge

Congratulations to Andrew Leahy (@alfski) and his students at the Western Sydney University School of Computing, Engineering, and Mathematics for winning the Raspberry Pi 360 Challenge.

Programming Framework: NodeJS, JavaScript
Raspberry Pi Usage: Power two THETAs through USB. Use dual WiFi USB adapters to control two THETAs
Special Notes: Using USB charging only cable with data pins shorted together. Have not tested dual THETA charging or control with Raspberry Pi as of 3/6/2017.


EucFACE Forest Experiment in Sydney. EucFACE is designed to predict the effects of rapidly rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on Australia’s unique native forests. This innovative experiment aims to predict decades in advance the effects of exposure to rising CO2 levels on native forests, animals, soils and grasses. By using the THETA to capture time lapse pictures of the forest over time, researchers can observe changes to leaf color and compare visual data to CO2 data.

Secondary application: Campus events where they want to use long exposures to help add privacy by blurring faces.