How to...

Install the Raspi Cam

Our idea for the machine learning project was to take a picture of a handwritten digit from the Raspberry Pi camera and let a machine learning guess the digit. Therefore we need 2 things. A camera and software to take and process pictures.


We used the Raspberry Pi “NoIR” camera board, that we installed according to the instructions from the official Raspberry Pi documentation page. In a nutshell, you have to connect the camera correctly, and then…

sudo raspi-config   

… select “Enable camera”, then hit Enter.

Allow farmer user to use the camera

Because we’re operating with the farmer user, we’ll have to add farmer to a group named video.

sudo usermod -a -G video farmer

Then restart the Pi.

Test the camera

With the camera connected, enabled and the right privileges you should be able to run this:

raspistill -o ~/cam.jpg

(it can take several seconds)

After you should see an image (or at least an image file) in your home directory named “cam.jpg”.


For the software, we’re going to need two things:

  1. python-picamera: A library that enables us to control the camera board.
  2. scikit-image: A library to process the images we record.

Python-Picamera library

In order to take pictures we’re going to use the “python-picamera” package.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-picamera

Install the scikit-image library

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-matplotlib python-numpy python-pil python-scipy
sudo apt-get install build-essential cython
pip3 install -U scikit-image
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