ANY-maze works with most USB cameras and this is the type of camera we generally recommend. It can also be used with analogue cameras, although these require a digitizer card to be installed in your computer.
If you are planning to track in normal lighting conditions then a low-cost USB webcam is often a good choice for ANY-maze. However, these cameras do have some drawbacks:
- You can’t change the lens or zoom in and out (except using digital zoom which tends to degrade the image), so you need to move the camera closer to or further from your apparatus in order to ‘frame’ the apparatus correctly in the image.
- Many, although not all, webcams include an infrared blocking filter. This means they can’t see infrared light which prevents them from being used in low-light or darkness, when an infrared illuminator could otherwise be used to light the apparatus.
- The cable is usually directly wired into the camera, so you can’t alter the cable length (although you can extend the cable using an active USB extension).
All these drawbacks can be addressed by using the ANY-maze USB camera. This has interchangeable lenses (we recommend using a varifocal ‘zoom’ lens), does not include an infrared block filter, and you can plug in any length of USB cable (up to 5m, the maximum length permitted by the USB specification).
Using an analogue camera can be a good choice for ANY-maze as many analogue cameras are very sensitive and so work well in low light; they’re also relatively inexpensive, and they support very long cables. Furthermore it’s easy to connect large numbers of analogue cameras to your computer. However, these cameras require a digitizer card to be installed in your computer which does mean you have to use a desktop, not a laptop.
For full details about cameras see Choosing a camera for ANY-maze.