" project is a near-infrared imaging platform developed by the Public Lab
community. In this Instructable, we'll show you how you can use a cheap filter (available through Public Lab's recent Kickstarter) in order to modify an inexpensive point & shoot camera, turning it into a device capable of capturing capture "NDVI" imagery -- the same technology that NASA and farmers currently use to assess plant health.
This how-to focuses on a camera that is particularly easy to source and modify: the Canon A495 (the instructions will be identical for the A490). You can buy a used version of this camera for around $50 or less on Amazon or Ebay.
The main steps we'll need to accomplish are: a) remove the near-infrared blocking filter from in front of the camera's sensor, and b) add on a cheap "red-blocking" filter. Tools:
- A Canon A495 or A490
- A small phillips-head screwdriver
- A small strip of tape (most any type will do)
- A piece of Rosco #2007 filter paper (available from Public Lab right now via their Kickstarter, for $10) Note:
if you'd rather not modify your own camera, Public Lab is also going to be producing a pre-assembled "point and shoot" camera -- you can sign up to get one by supporting their Kickstarter
Also note: this material is also explained very nicely in a Public Lab how-to video
-- it'll be very useful to watch that video once before starting, and to use it as an accompanying guide for this Instructable. Warnings before you begin:
#1: There is a capacitor located deep inside the case of the camera. Don't stick the screwdriver in random crevices of the camera -- you could receive a bad shock!
#2: It is very possible to ruin your camera's functionality by making a small mistake. Don't do this with a camera that you'd really miss if something goes wrong ...
Okay, if you're ready to modify your own Canon A495/0, let's begin