Webcam Spectrograph using RPi

Low cost classroom tool

15 April 2016

We made a webcam spectrograph using an optical CD as the diffraction grating as our course project for Waves, Oscillation and Optics (EP 226). As processing the camera images on a computer would be too boring, we used an RPi board with embedded camera which we happened to have. The RPi could process and transmit the data over WiFi enabling us to access the results from any computer, in principle. This made the spectrograph completely portable.

Our professor suggested many possible improvements onto this which would make it a cheap product for schools. They include distancing the grating from the camera and using a good grating rather than the CD which has curved grooves.

The schematic for the optical assembly and the visual spectra from a phone torch and a tube light can be seen in the following images.

The full presentation is available here.

Thanks to Sandesh Kalantre for working with me on this project, and Prof. Tapanendu Kundu for his guidance.