Hello, is anyone able to explain to me what the minimum requirements for one of these is? I.e. could I use anything other than an Raspberry Pi 4 Model B hypothetically? (including anything other than a RPi)
The software was developed on a Pi3, but runs more smoothly on a Pi4. If you are planning to connect to it over the network from a Laptop/desktop then even a Pi2 should be powerful enough.
We normally talk about the RPi because the RPi camera is a good camera, and you can reliably get a camera with the same chip. The same model webcam may change the chip which can affect performance. However you can split open a webcam and use the camera from that, but if you want the motors to work you may need to write a bit of custom code, but for a basic microscope it works well. We have even seen versions where you can crack open a dash-cam for a manual microscope with a built in screen.
So the main reasons for using the Pi (aside from the camera) are for networking capability and to motorise the mechanism?
That’s so cool!
absolutely - if you just want the imaging part, you can use a webcam. Currently there are plastic parts for the Logitech C270 and for the super cheap webcams with 6 LEDs that are found for about £3 on AliExpress. A word of caution though: we test the Raspberry Pi version much more than the other versions, so you may run into more issues with those ones.