Project Straylight

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To build a $500 educational project to display and demo at the upcoming EDExpo (late February 2015)


Build a portable, RaspberryPi based Lightboard for recording lessons/lectures/demos. A lightboard allows the instructor to write on a whiteboard in front of them while facing the camera. See: Northwestern Lightboard for examples

Demo videos: [Youtube|]


The basic lightboard is assembled and working.

The RaspberryPi and camera is set up to automatically boot into camera preview mode with the image flipped horizontally.


RaspberryPi Recording

  • RaspberryPi B: $35
  • RaspberryPi Camera: $30
  • Monitor with HDMI input: $100
  • Powered USB Hub: $10
  • USB sound card for recording: $10
  • Microphone: $15
  • HDMI and misc cables: $20
  • RaspberryPi Mount: $0 (3D printed)
  • VESA Mount to monitor: $0 (Laser cut from scrap acrylic)
  • Software: $0 (all open source)


  • 3x6" .220" thick Acrylic: $100
  • 25mm extruded aluminum frame: $80
  • LED lighting strip and power supply: $25
  • Neon EXPO dry erase markers: $15
  • Black canvas for backdrop (2.75 yards): $10
  • PVC for backdrop stand: $15 (estimate as this was scrap)
  • Baskets for markers: $5
  • Misc screws and brackets: $25

Total: $495

Todo/Version 2


  • Video mixer to be able to overlay images into the background in real time
  • Experiment with the RaspberryPi cameras settings for white balance, image stabilization, etc for optimal recording
  • Script that automatically starts and stops recording of video and audio on a trigger
  • Script to mix the audio and video into a single file for easier post-production
  • Auto-mounting of a USB thumb drive at boot time and set this as the default location for recordings, or post-mixing drops to eliminate users from needed access to the RaspberryPi


  • Give the presenter a remote control to start and stop recording from behind the board. Keyboard or mouse would be fine.
  • Redesign the floor mounts of the board to be sturdier and to allow for a heavier board
  • Use tempered glass instead of acrylic for better long term durability (current budget wouldn't allow for this at approximately twice the cost, plus twice the weight)
  • Edge light with solid white LED strip instead of RGB strip (RGD was available so was used although not necessary)
  • Add a second RaspberryPi/monitor/45degree piece of acrylic in front of the camera for a teleprompter
  • On-air light: Add a red LED to the VESA mount, hooked into a GPIO on the RaspberryPi, that can be turned on and off via script. This will edge light the mount with a red glow when the Pi is recording.
  • Add WiFi and set up Network Time Protocol (NTP) or add a real time clock (RTC) to the Pi so the time stamping of files is accurate.
  • If Lightboard is set up in a semi-permanent location (The podcast studio?) set up better ambient lighting for optimal recording
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