A software for sleep analysis in Drosophila


Hacking a webcam to improve lighting conditions

Hacking of the webcam: an example

Here we provide instruction on how to modify a logitech webcam (Quickcam 9000 pro) to be used for our purposes. With some adaptation, the instruction provided here will probably apply to any webcam. Hacking does not require a particular set of skills.


To start you will need:

  • a proper set of screwdrivers
  • a soldering iron with some solder
  • a diamond tip pen (glass cutter)
  • a burned color film
  • tweezers and latex gloves (optional)


Proceed opening the webcam. In this model you need to unscrew the case. With other models you probably just need to unscrew the objective out or click open the case without using a screwdriver.

One the cam is open, you should proceed finding your way to the lens. Your goal is to remove the infrared filter which usually lies between the CCD and the lens itself. In our case, the IR filter is glue to the autofocus motor. We then need to unscrew the PCB from the case.

After the PCB has been removed, you should then unscrew the motor from the back, removing the two small screws still remaining on the board. They are usually very tight so make sure you are using a proper screwdriver.

It is not enough to unscrew the motor, you will also need to desolder it from the board in order to be able to remove it completely.

The IR filter appears as a tiny red-ish glass glued on the lens support. The easiest way to remove it is to crack it open. Use the diamond pen to try to cut the edges and a small flat screwdriver as leverage to brake it open. Be careful: the glass normally lies very close to the lens. You should pay attention not to brake or touch the lens itself as you crack the IR glass.

Now, you should add a visible light filter. Take some old camera film and cut the darken edge. The film must be completely dark to work. Cut one or two layers of film and put them between the lens and the CCD or before the lens itself. Mount everything back and you are set. The final results should look like the following picture:



Hacking of the webcam: another example

Here some instruction on how to hack a different webcam model. Webcams like this one can be bought for about $10. They have four IR LEDs integrated with the webcam itself but they still have a lighter IR filter inside nevertheless.

Cases like this one are much simpler to open as it is just matter of unscrewing the objective out of the body.

As usual the IR filter appears slightly red to the naked eye. Remove it and apply the visible filter instead. You can glue a fragment of darken film to either parts of the lens. Or you can cut a hole in the protective cup that came with the cam and glue the visible filter there instead. This particular webcam ($8 on ebay) works only on windows machines.

The final result

Here an example of how the final result will be.

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