Document Camera Client

Please use this template to propose making a new Ubuntu Appliance. Post your topic here with the tag #pna.

Your interest and involvement

I am a teacher struggling to connect with my students. I’ve been teaching for 20 years. Distance learning is very tricky. I need to see what my students are working on. If a student is making a mistake, I’d like to be able to correct it in real time. For example, a student working on math problems might have the wrong algorithm. If I can intercede quickly, I can correct the student’s algorithm while they work. Being able to have a document camera client would allow me to build raspberry pi document cameras for my students cheaply and quickly.

Is this an appliance for a project you lead or contribute to? Are you expressing interest in having this appliance, or in contributing to it?
I’d like to build cheap document cameras for all my students. This client would go in to the raspberry pie running things.


Is this an appliance for home users? Makers? Software engineers? Who would you like to reach with this appliance?
This client will be put in student document cameras allowing for a quick wifi connection and ease of use.

Software considerations

Does the software for this appliance already run on Linux? On Ubuntu? Is there a snap yet? Is the software open source? Does your proposed new appliance require the use of any other snaps or software that you are not the maintainer of? e.g mir-kiosk or Microk8s.

Hardware considerations

What hardware should your proposed new appliance work on? Are there any accessory requirements (cameras, actuators, relays, GPIO?) Does your proposed new appliance need anything extra or specific to work? e.g an external monitor, a dev kit, extra parts, etc.

It would be nice to have the raspberry pi and be headless and plug and play.

Security considerations

Does your appliance require Secure Boot or full disk encryption?


Does your proposed appliance have existing documentation around privacy policy?

Maintenance considerations

Would this appliance use existing maintained debs from Ubuntu? Would it use other software which needs maintenance? Is there an upstream or vendor commitment to maintenance of that software?

Hello @atomicthomas2000, thanks for proposing this.

Is there an existing code base, like a GitHub repo we could look at, to see what the software stack would consist of? We can then suggest the best way forward, including any special considerations for building the snaps and what may be necessary for devices like Raspberry Pi.

I don’t have a GitHub repo.
I designed a 3D printable document camera that can slip on to a whiteboard. I currently have a pi camera and a raspberry pi 3 (This is what I had on hand).

I plan on putting a pi zero with a pi camera. I can set up everything via terminal, but I’d like a snap that could drop in to the pi and have it ready to go.

I’d like a snap that can pop in to a pi zero that turns it into a headless USB that folks can plug into their laptop.

I don’t have any code.

Note that Ubuntu Core does not support the Raspberry Pi Zero (or the Zero W), as those devices are armv6, and we only support armv7+.

That doesn’t mean that your project could not be done with the Raspberry Pi 3, but I’m not sure what kind of support there exists for USB gadget on the Raspberry Pi 3, because from the sounds of it you want folks to plug the Raspberry Pi directly into their machine and have it show up as like a webcam basically, correct? To make that work you need USB “On the go” gadget support, which I don’t think the 3 has[1], but the A, A+, and the 4[2] all do.

[2] with the 4 you will need to ensure the firmware is up-to-date which is not something that we have ever done with Ubuntu Core on the raspberry pi, so that would probably require some work to figure out how to do firmware updates for the Raspberry Pi on Ubuntu Core, but it’s not impossible since it can be done from Ubuntu classic AIUI…

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