The Infragram is an affordable, open source multispectral camera platform for measuring plant health.
Developed collaboratively by the Public Lab community, it intended for home gardeners, hikers, makers, farmers, amateur scientists, teachers, artists, and anyone curious about the secret lives of plants!
The Infragram Kickstarter video, a great introduction to the project.
- Infragram.org, the free and open source web tool for processing your Infragram photos
- Infragram media images
- Recent Infragram research
- Infragram FAQ
Infragram kit types
So you have an Infragram camera, or a filter kit, and you want to start analyzing plant health? After this page, the first place to look for answers is Public Lab's infrared photography discussion list, which you can sign up for in the left-hand column. There are plenty of other DIY infrared photographers, from novices to experts, willing to offer advice and help troubleshoot.
The question to start with is whether you can capture all the channels you need for your research question with a single converted camera or whether you should use a dual camera rig with one converted camera and one unconverted. That choice plays out in terms of what filter (blue or red) to use for converting your camera.
Check out this list of cameras, detailing how to convert some and collecting information on which cameras work and which don't:
Here's a link to a great video on converting a camera using PL's filter kit:
Please share your experiences and post additional cameras to this list!
We've learned that careful white balancing of your converted Infragram camera is essential for good NDVI images. Learn how in this short video and read in depth on the topic in research by Chris Fastie. There is also a wiki page on the subject at http://publiclab.org/wiki/infrablue-white-balance
Should you use a RED or BLUE filter?
Early research by Public Lab contributors led to a blue filter technique for making Infragram cameras. But recent research on PublicLab.org has shown that red filters work better -- and on a wider range of cameras. Blue filters did not work on most CMOS cameras, especially cheaper webcams. By the beginning of the new year the Filter Kits will ship with red filters -- specifically the Rosco #19 "Fire" filter as well as the blue filter #2007.
Currently the Infragram DIY Filter Kit ships with two different filters. This is because our research on which filter works best has evolved over time, but until recently we believed that the #2007 was easier to use because it transmits more light, while the #74 transmits enough to get good results if you are careful with ISO and shutter speed. We think that the #74 should produce a more pure NIR channel.
For those who use the webcam and have a Python interpreter, there are some image processing codes available at Python Webcam Codes.
Give or get help
Here are some resources to get help converting or using your Infragram camera. Keep in mind that we are a peer driven community and we encourage everyone to give as well as receive assistance and support!
- Search the infrared discussion list and Public Lab research notes for an answer to you question.
- Post a message to the infrared discussion list asking for help
- If the list can't answer your question and you need personal troubleshooting help, email our organizers list and we will try to schedule a one on one conversation.
- When you solve your problem, please post your findings to the infrared discussion list or post a research note.
When describing your question or answer, please include details of the equipment and process you are using as described here for Infragram photos .
The Infragram camera was originally developed by Public Lab contributors to assess damage to wetlands in the wake of the BP oil spill; but it's also a simple, easy-to-modify, open-source hardware and software tool that anyone who's curious about plant physiology and health can use. You can go back and read through much of this work by reading research notes tagged with 'near-infrared-camera' and the most recent work on the Infragram technique by looking for the tag 'infragram'.
Vineyards, large farms, and NASA all use near-infrared photography for assessment, usually by mounting expensive sensors on airplanes and satellites. Infragram brings this technology to average citizens, enabling them to monitor their environment through quantifiable, citizen-generated data.
Just as photography was instrumental to the rise of credible print journalism, DIY data collection technologies like Infragram set out to democratize and improve reporting about environmental impacts. By creating a low-cost camera and working with farmers and environmental activists, we hope to explore grassroots uses for this kind of technology.
What exactly is an Infragram camera?
The Kickstarter project offered a few different versions:
"The name "Infragram" comes from Infrared Photogrammetry, the use of photography to create spacialized and quantified data. When NASA started using this technique on the Landsat satellites in the 1970's and 80's, each camera was custom-built for the purpose. Now, consumer cameras are so advanced that even a five year old point and shoot can generate excellent data with nothing more than a change of the filters and calibration through the Infragram site."-- Mathew Lippincott, Public Lab
"We're excited that Public Laboratory is developing a low-cost infrared camera which will help us track the success of wetland restoration projects in the Gulf Region--as well as help us track pollution. The Gulf Restoration Network has been using the aerial monitoring techniques that Public Lab developed, so having the infrared camera available to put on the balloon and kite rig will only expand the applications of that technology as well as add value to airplane monitoring flights that help us watchdog the oil industry in the Gulf." -- Scott Eustis, M.S., Gulf Restoration Network
The Public Lab community has been building up a knowledge base in DIY infrared imaging for years. To join in, check out these pages:
- Infrared image processing, specifically how to represent information that we can't see as images that we can see: http://publiclab.org/wiki/ndvi
- The history of the project -- the images below depict other prototypes that were created by our community over the years. If you are interested in the story of how this project got started, check out more early prototypes and experiments on this page: http://publiclab.org/wiki/near-infrared-camera-history.
Infragram instructions and graphics
Digital files for the filter pack envelope (including logo) and instructions:
Sketchup model for the "filter switch" graphic: filter-switch.skp
Datasheet for Infragram Webcam: infragram-webcam-new-old-diagram.pdf
Focal length of the camera:3.27mm. Chip sensor size for the camera: Sensor:ov2643,SIZE:1/4"