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PiSight is a Raspberry Pi inside an Apple iSight camera and it's magical

Pisight Camera Mounted
Pisight Camera Mounted (Image credit: Max Braun)

What you need to know

  • People are buying webcams again but they're all boring.
  • Nothing can hold a candle to Apple's iSight camera.
  • So someone put a Raspberry Pi inside one to make it functional in 2020.

It's 2020 and everyone is buying webcams again. That isn't something I expected to be saying back in January but here we are. But as Max Braun found out, modern webcams are boring chunks of plastic. What we really want is the Apple iSight, a gorgeous webcam from 2003. But its camera wasn't even 720p and it used Firewire.

Yes. Firewire. Remember that?

So here we are, 17 years later. And Braun has done the only logical thing anyone with an iSight hankering can do in 2020 – taken one apart and stuffed it with a Raspberry Pi.

The result is the external parts of an iSight camera but with the modern magic brought by a bargain Raspberry Pi setup. And it seemed to be fairly easy to do. Though it's probably easier to read about it than it is to actually do it!

Pisight Construction Exploded

Pisight Construction Exploded (Image credit: Max Braun)

I decided to keep only the externally visible parts of the original iSight assembly: the perforated aluminum tube, the lens cover, and the plastic inserts at the back and bottom. I tossed out the camera module, all the other electronics, and the frame holding everything together — but not before I measured all the sizes and positions exactly, so I could later reproduce them in my custom frame.

So what do you call an iSight camera with a Raspberry Pi inside? You can it PiSight, obviously.

So there you have it. An Apple iSight, resurrected from obsolescence by stuffing a Raspberry Pi inside. I call it the "PiSight" and there's absolutely nothing you can do about that.

I wouldn't have it any other way! Check out the Medium post for all the details and some great pictures of the process, too.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.