Maker and developer Adam Honse has been working hard with his Dad on this awesome model railroad project and the two decided to integrate a Pi Zero into the design so they can watch the train ride from a first-person perspective.
The train rides a track throughout a model town complete with houses, fences, beautiful landscapes, and even flashing railroad signs that light up when the train gets close. The front of the car features a Pi Zero 2 W with a camera module that captures the video feed of the journey. The car behind the Pi houses a battery pack used to power the Pi as it rides along the track.
Honse is a software engineer and self-proclaimed Linux enthusiast so it should come as no surprise that he uses both a Raspberry Pi and a PinePhone (a Linux-based smartphone) to drive this project. He’s also responsible for creating the OpenRGB project—a multi-platform system used to control RGB LEDs from Linux, Windows, or even Mac devices.
Creating this project requires a fair bit of hardware when you factor in the train, the model town houses, and all of the other pieces used to construct everything you see around the track. But as far as the Pi-based aspects of the project go, it relies on a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, a camera module, and a battery for power. Honse is using his smartphone to view the camera feed but there’s no reason you couldn’t stream the video to any other device like a desktop or tablet.
The Pi relies on a network connection to stream the video feed. His PinePhone is able to access the camera stream using VLC, one of our favorite applications for remotely accessing a Raspberry Pi. This setup allows Honse and his Dad to see what the train sees from a first-person perspective while it's driving around the model town.
If you want to see this model train in action, check out the demo video shared to YouTube by Honse. This Raspberry Pi project is easy to recreate and can be adapted to other use cases that require real-time video feeds. Check out the original project thread shared to Twitter for more details.