Building QR code scanner for Android using Firebase ML Kit and CameraX

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create QR code scanner using Firebase ML Kit and Jetpack CameraX.

cover pictureillustration by Katja Dianoff

Introduction

What is CameraX?

CameraX is a Jetpack Support library which was announced at Google I/O 2019. Main goal of the library is to help developers to make camera app development easier by providing consistent and easy to use API. You can read more about CameraX here.

What is Firebase ML Kit?

Firebase ML Kit is a mobile SDK for Android and iOS which was announced at Google I/O 2018. ML Kit comes with common use cases for Natural Language (text recognition, face detection, barcode scanning, image labelling, object detecting & tracking, landmark recognition) and Vision (identifying language of text, translating text, generating smart replies). You can read more about Firebase ML Kit here.

Setting up the project

  1. Create a new project in Android Studio from File ⇒ New Project and select Empty Activity from templates. I have given my package name as com.natigbabayev.qrscanner

  2. Add Firebase to your Android project

  3. Open app/build.gradle and add Firebase ML Vision and Jetpack CameraX dependencies:
    dependencies {
        //...
    
        // Make sure you have correct version of appcompat library
        implementation 'androidx.appcompat:appcompat:1.1.0-rc01'
    
        // Firebase ML Kit dependencies
        implementation 'com.google.firebase:firebase-ml-vision:21.0.0'
    
        // CameraX
        def camerax_version = "1.0.0-alpha03"
        implementation "androidx.camera:camera-core:${camerax_version}"
        implementation "androidx.camera:camera-camera2:${camerax_version}"
    }
    
  4. Open your AndroidManifest.xml file to add required permissions:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <manifest ...>
        <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />
        ...
    </manifest>
    
  5. Add following code to your AndroidManifest.xml file for configuring your app to automatically download the ML model to the device after your app is installed from the Play Store:
    <application ...>
      ...
      <meta-data
          android:name="com.google.firebase.ml.vision.DEPENDENCIES"
          android:value="barcode" />
    </application>
    
  6. Open layout file of the main activity (activity_main.xml) and add TextureView. We will use it to stream camera input:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout
            xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
            xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
            xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="match_parent"
            tools:context=".MainActivity">
    
        <TextureView
                android:id="@+id/texture_view"
                android:layout_width="match_parent"
                android:layout_height="match_parent"
                app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent"
                app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
                app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
                app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent" />
    
    </androidx.constraintlayout.widget.ConstraintLayout>
    
  7. As a last step of our project setup, we need to check if user has granted camera permission. For this, you can go to MainActivity.kt file and add following code:
    class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
    
        companion object {
            private const val REQUEST_CAMERA_PERMISSION = 10
        }
    
        private lateinit var textureView: TextureView
    
        override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
            super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
            setContentView(R.layout.activity_main)
    
            textureView = findViewById(R.id.texture_view)
    
            // Request camera permissions
            if (isCameraPermissionGranted()) {
                textureView.post { startCamera() }
            } else {
                ActivityCompat.requestPermissions(this, arrayOf(Manifest.permission.CAMERA), REQUEST_CAMERA_PERMISSION)
            }
        }
    
        private fun startCamera() {
            // We will implement this in next steps.
        }
    
        private fun isCameraPermissionGranted(): Boolean {
            val selfPermission = ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(baseContext, Manifest.permission.CAMERA)
            return selfPermission == PackageManager.PERMISSION_GRANTED
        }
    
        override fun onRequestPermissionsResult(requestCode: Int, permissions: Array<String>, grantResults: IntArray) {
            if (requestCode == REQUEST_CAMERA_PERMISSION) {
                if (isCameraPermissionGranted()) {
                    textureView.post { startCamera() }
                } else {
                    Toast.makeText(this, "Camera permission is required.", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()
                    finish()
                }
            }
        }
    }
    

Showing camera input on the screen

CameraX has an abstraction called a use case which let’s you to interact with camera of a device. Currently following use cases are available:

As it is mentioned above, to show camera stream on the screen, we need to use Preview use case. When we create instance of Preview use case, we need to pass PreviewConfig as constructor parameter. So, let’s add following code to our startCamera() function:

val previewConfig = PreviewConfig.Builder()
    // We want to show input from back camera of the device
    .setLensFacing(CameraX.LensFacing.BACK)
    .build()

val preview = Preview(previewConfig)

The preview use case provides a SurfaceTexture for display. To show camera stream in our textureView, we need to add listener to preview instance using setOnPreviewOutputUpdateListener() method:

// ...
preview.setOnPreviewOutputUpdateListener { previewOutput ->
    textureView.surfaceTexture = previewOutput.surfaceTexture
}

As CameraX observes a lifecycle to manage camera resources, we need to bind our use case using CameraX.bindToLifecycle(this as LifecycleOwner, preview). Here is how startCamera() function looks like in MainActivity:

private fun startCamera() {
    val previewConfig = PreviewConfig.Builder()
        // We want to show input from back camera of the device
        .setLensFacing(CameraX.LensFacing.BACK)
        .build()

    val preview = Preview(previewConfig)

    preview.setOnPreviewOutputUpdateListener { previewOutput ->
        textureView.surfaceTexture = previewOutput.surfaceTexture
    }

    CameraX.bindToLifecycle(this as LifecycleOwner, preview)
}

Detecting QR code

Now we need to detect QR codes from camera input using ImageAnalysis use case. For this, we need to create class named QrCodeAnalyzer which implements ImageAnalysis.Analyzer interface. ImageAnalysis.Analyzer has function called analyze(ImageProxy image, int rotationDegrees), and this is where we will add QR code detection related code.

Let’s start implementing QrCodeAnalyzer:

  1. Create QrCodeAnalyzer and add callback to get notifications when QR code is detected:

    class QrCodeAnalyzer(
        private val onQrCodesDetected: (qrCodes: List<FirebaseVisionBarcode>) -> Unit
    ) : ImageAnalysis.Analyzer {
        override fun analyze(image: ImageProxy, rotationDegrees: Int) {
            // ...
        }
    }
    
  2. Get instance of FirebaseVisionBarcodeDetector:

    val options = FirebaseVisionBarcodeDetectorOptions.Builder()
        // We want to only detect QR codes.
        .setBarcodeFormats(FirebaseVisionBarcode.FORMAT_QR_CODE)
        .build()
    
    val detector = FirebaseVision.getInstance().getVisionBarcodeDetector(options)
    
  3. Create FirebaseVisionImage from frame:

    val rotation = rotationDegreesToFirebaseRotation(rotationDegrees)
    val visionImage = FirebaseVisionImage.fromMediaImage(image.image!!, rotation)
    

    In this step we also need to convert ImageAnalysis.Analyzer’s rotation degrees to firebase’s rotiation by adding following function:

     private fun rotationDegreesToFirebaseRotation(rotationDegrees: Int): Int {
         return when (rotationDegrees) {
             0 -> FirebaseVisionImageMetadata.ROTATION_0
             90 -> FirebaseVisionImageMetadata.ROTATION_90
             180 -> FirebaseVisionImageMetadata.ROTATION_180
             270 -> FirebaseVisionImageMetadata.ROTATION_270
             else -> throw IllegalArgumentException("Not supported")
         }
     }
    
  4. Pass visionImage to detector and notify onQrCodesDetected with list of detected QR codes:
    detector.detectInImage(visionImage)
        .addOnSuccessListener { barcodes ->
            onQrCodesDetected(barcodes)
        }
        .addOnFailureListener {
            Log.e("QrCodeAnalyzer", "something went wrong", it)
        }
    
  5. Use QrCodeAnalyzer in startCamera() function of MainActivity:
    private fun startCamera() {
        // ...
        val imageAnalysisConfig = ImageAnalysisConfig.Builder()
            .build()
        val imageAnalysis = ImageAnalysis(imageAnalysisConfig)
    
        val qrCodeAnalyzer = QrCodeAnalyzer { qrCodes ->
            qrCodes.forEach {
                Log.d("MainActivity", "QR Code detected: ${it.rawValue}.")
            }
        }
    
        imageAnalysis.analyzer = qrCodeAnalyzer
    
        // We need to bind preview and imageAnalysis use cases
        CameraX.bindToLifecycle(this as LifecycleOwner, preview, imageAnalysis)
    }
    

Here is how QrCodeAnalyzer class should look like when you follow steps mentioned above.

Now you can run the project and you should be able to see QR Code detected: ... in logcat when QR code is detected.

Final words

In this tutorial, we learnt creating QR code scanner using Firebase ML Kit and Jetpack CameraX.

You can find the final code for this tutorial on Github.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions or comments, you can ask here.


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