Introduction: Infrared (IR) Webcam

This guide will tell you how to modify your webcam so that it catches the infrared spectrum rather than the visible light one.

You will need:
- 1 webcam
- A screwdriver
- Some black processed film (find some old 35mm negatives and use the unexposed start block)

Total time: around 15 minutes.

Step 1: Disassemble

Ensure the webcam is disconnected from the computer.

Remove any base the webcam may have. You then need to remove any exterior screws (use the screwdriver). The case should then separate to reveal the insides, however if it doesn't try and prise the case apart using the end of a flat screwdriver or penknife. You shouldn't need too much force, and remember to check under pads and stickers for screws.

You may also want to remove the USB connection lead from the main board to give you more movement if the cable's position is fixed.

Step 2: Remove PCB and Lens Enclosure

Remove the PCB (the main chip) and the lens enclosure. Since this is basically the whole of the insides in most cases, you need to remove all the casing. When handling the PCB (usually green), try not to touch it too much, and attempt to handle it by the edges. The same goes for the lens.

You should end up with something like the one shown in the pictures.

Step 3: Seperate the Lens Enclosure From the PCB

Next you need to try and separate the unit containing the lens (the bit which faced the outside world) from the PCB chip. In my case this was connected by two screws and a sticky pad, although yours may be different.


Put the PCB to one side, but try and cover the newly exposed area so that dust can't get to it.

Step 4: Disassemble the Lens Enclosure

This lens unit will probably unscrew apart into two pieces (used for focusing). The section which attaches to the PCB is probably the spacer, and only holds the other section with the lens in a set distance from the main light sensor, however the filter we are after could be in the connecting part too (you will probably work out if it is if you can't find the filter in a minute).

Step 5: Find the Filter!

This is the main step.

Look at the section with the lens (right in the picture) and try and get it under different lights. We are looking for a filter here, and it will probably have a red/pink/blue tint if you look at the right angle.

When you have found it, you need to remove it (carefully - it is glass). In my case, I had to snap a () ring out, although it had been well glued, so I needed to break it out to release the filter. When you have the filter, you will probably want to put it to one side in safety (you no longer need it, but if you ever one to reverse the modification you will need it).

Now you need to cut two (yes 2) squares of film out of your stash (black processed film - find some old 35mm negatives and use the unexposed start block). Clean them off best you can (remember the light goes through here, so any dust is going to leave a black dot on all your images), and put them in the place that the filter was before you removed it (this can take some patience) one on top of the other. Then do your best to put any holder back in place (like my () ring) to stop the film falling out.

Step 6: Reassemble

Now all you need to do is reassemble the webcam, and you are ready to go!