Raspberry Pi Changes Webcam Background With Custom Images

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Freedom Tech)

With the rise in popularity of video conferencing, so has the demand increased for real-time video effects. With the help of this Raspberry Pi project from Freedom Tech, you can replace the background of your video feed with any color or custom image you want. The project uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically change the background by detecting where the edges are of the person in the frame.

While this technology isn’t exactly new and can be replicated locally on many PCs using software, this is the first time we’ve come across someone using a Raspberry Pi to automatically filter out the background image. Freedom Tech is using a few familiar tools to pull off the project including both OpenCV and Python.

This is one of many projects developed and shared by Freedom Tech—most of which are open source. In fact, we recently covered their OpenCV-based distance detection project which uses a camera and AI to estimate distance values without a distance sensor. Previous projects often include various machine learning and AI-based applications like this text detecting project which was also created using Python and OpenCV.

To operate this project, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi. While smaller versions like the Pi Zero will work, you’ll likely have better success with a more capable model like the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or a Raspberry Pi 4. In addition to the Pi, you’ll need a camera of sorts to capture the video feed. In this case, Freedom Tech is using a USB webcam, but a camera module would work just as well.

Freedom Tech provides a full video setup tutorial detailing what libraries and dependencies are necessary as well as digging into how to create the custom Python script that brings it all together. The major tool used in this project is CVZone which is responsible for handling the AI-based system that draws edges for the background to adhere to.

If you’re interested in recreating this Raspberry Pi project, check out the full tutorial shared by Freedom Tech over at YouTube which delves into all of the details you need to build it from scratch. Be sure to follow Freedom Tech for more exciting AI-based Pi projects and tutorials to make them yourself at home.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.