After a successful day's hacking on the Arduino line-scan image sensor at the Dorkbot Bristol Hack Day, I can now claim FIRST LIGHT! I had the sensor working earlier in the week, but I now have a way to actually see what it can "see" (all 128 pixels of it). I thought about installing and learning a C++ graphical framework like Qt or GTK+, but settled for installing Processing. Processing is a Java-based IDE and language system that's designed for rapid software prototyping, so it was just what I needed. The Arduino sends pixel data at 115200 baud to the host, where the Processing program (they call it a "sketch", just like on the Arduino) reads it in and displays it in a scrolling graphical window. One or two quirks to deal with, like the non-blocking serial.read() function and the slightly unexpected idea of setting a frame rate. But it all works in about a screenful of code, and I can get on with experiments on the optical end of things, i.e. the lens.
I think I'd like to get a cylindrical lens working, but for now I have a 35mm disposable camera with a hole in the back. It's a lens and an opaque box, with the shutter glued open. I have a couple of snippets of Pyrex glass rod, to try out as lenses, but they focus very close to the rod. They also have no opaque box to mount them on, yet. I want to try to find one of those book or newspaper magnifiers that have a wide, plastic cylindrical lens in them. They'll have a flat rear side and hopefully a better focal length.
In other news, I can highly recommend taking a look at the sensor chip from a flat-bed scanner under the 40X stereo microscope. Some types have three stripes of intense colour all along the chip, the RGB filters.
But, after all that, still absolutely no progress on the UK101.