Peephole security camera from old Android phone

 

This post is about how to properly recycle your old Android smartphone. By “recycling” I mean not tossing it in the bin at your local electronic store, but giving it a proper new use. It’s been only a few years since explosive expansion of smartphones began, but already a lot of us have one or two “old” models lying around gathering dust. If you give it a bit of thought, you realize that it’s a highly capable supercomputer you have there doing absolutely nothing! People have been flown to the Moon and back using less computing power that your old pocket companion has! I think these old-ish smartphones are great platform for something very useful. For instance, even older ones have quite a decent camera, support several network standards and, when connected to a power source, have a battery-backed power that will allow them to run for hours. It’s a great platform for highly autonomous and powerful surveillance system! Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to present you  the “Peephole Security Camera” application for Android. Get it on Google Play, enter your e-mail in settings and you get yourself an automatic assistant that can be left watching your house when you are out. Unlike most video-surveillance systems that accumulate hours of mostly static video you’ll never watch, it works in a lot smarter way. It analyzes video feed from device’s camera to detect motion in a picture. When something moves, you get an instant e-mail with a few images in it, and it will keep taking pictures and sending you updates until motion stops. And that’s all most people ever need from remove surveillance system.

Use cases

Peephole camera

That was the original intention for this app. It requires no modification to your peephole or your door, just get a pack of these highly versatile Velcro strips with adhesive layer. Attach them to the back of the phone IMG_9685 Try not to cover the lens, otherwise the whole thing would not work 🙂 Attach matching strips of the Velcro to the ones on the phone, carefully align the phone camera with peephole visor (having Peephole Security Camera app running at the same time will help controlling the alignment) then glue them to the door. With phone off the door, you’d end up with something like  this: IMG_9686 And that’s how it looks assembled: IMG_9690 Using Velcro strips (or similar non-permanent means) allows you to re-align  the phone if it is slightly off the peephole visor. Also, it allows you to remove the phone and put it back when you need. Make sure you route the charger cable the way it does not bend too much when door opens and closes and it does not get caught in the door. Without a charger, the phone battery will not last too long, so having a decent charger is essential. Most likely, the one your phone came with will do. All you need to do then is to adjust zoom using volume buttons on your phone, choose monitoring start delay between 1, 10 or 30 seconds and touch anywhere to start monitoring.

General motion-activated camera

The smartphone with “Peephole Security camera” app is quite a powerful device. Place it in any place where motion is unwanted and you’d like to be informed in any such occurrence. It can guard your country house, sit in the garage or remote shed, watch your backyard. It can even hunt for pictures of wild animals, for that matter. The applications are endless – mount it so it observes the pool area and you’ll always get informed if there is any movement when you are not watching. It may be extremely valuable if you have small kids whose curiosity is so boundless pool fences have no chance with it.

Legal stuff.

Different countries have different rules about video surveillance. Some will require you to put a “Video surveillance is in use”, others may specifically restrict you in how you can and how you can’t mount the camera and what it can and what it cannot have in its field of view. Please check local regulations before use, and respect them! Oh, yes, and get it on the Google Play: Android app on Google Play

  1. Света твоим мыслям.
    А отправка полноразмерных фото, будет опция ?
    На случай ситуации что товарищ зашёл и снял телефон из моего сарая со всеми доказательствами в нормальном качестве.

    Ещё б опцию чтоб сделал 1 снимок,а затем включила запись видео.

    • Отправлять полноразмерные фотки идея была, но они весят много, и в один гугл-емейл влезет максимум одна-две штуки. И после отправки где-то тысячи писем в течение 24 часов гугль блокирует аккаунт до наступления следующих суток. На сторонних серверах ограничения, скорее всего, еще похлеще.
      Есть планы включить поддержку дропбокса, ftp и прочих страшных слов. Ну и возможность выбирать, как сильно уменьшать фотографии. Для нахождения правильного баланса между количеством е-мейлов и качеством собранного материала.
      Видео принципиально делать не буду. Во-первых, теряется сама суть быстрого информирования о событии (пока видео куда-то закачается, да через мобильный интернет, много воды утечет), во-вторых, ИМХО одна фотка в полном разрешении гораздо лучше 15 минутного мутного видео, даже если оно и в HD. В-третьих, приложений-детекторов, снимающих именно видео, в маркете до чертиков.

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