Send email, receive surveilance picture

This deathstar like ball is actually an autonomous surveillance camera. [Basil] wrote in to tell us about it. The body is custom designed for the project, then 3d printed.  It can be dropped anywhere, as it is battery powered for up to a month,  and communicates via cellar networks.  It checks an email folder once an hour and responds to any requests with a snapshot of what is going on. In the video, which you can see after the break, he gets an immediate response.  You can download the sourcecode as well as the files for the enclosure here.

If you wanted to reduce costs, that case could be done away with, but we suspect it helps with some moderate weather conditioning. We would also love to see a version that rotated around that equator on command for better pictures. Great job [Basil].

Comments

  1. Oren Beck says:

    Rover

  2. Scott says:

    I instantly thought… Death Star.

  3. TheCitySpiders says:

    You could do a setup that allows it to tilt up down and turn 360°. Tilt would be obviously less than 360°.And the tilt could be done with the same method as say a weighted center balance or some type of tray that uses magnetic spheres in a bowl kinda stand or even just a kick leg that pops out of the shell.
    I am sure there are some other awesome ways to pull that off.

  4. Basil says:

    I’d love to a add some sort of tilt/turn functionality. My only concern though is power consumption of the motors. I’d really love this camera to last as long as possible on a single charge.

  5. Jordan says:

    yeah, perhaps add an accelerometer to tell which way is up and automatically rotate the camera’s image

  6. stevo says:

    or just simply outfitting it with a simple servo system allowing it to take a series of pictures while it travels along its rotational axis

  7. caleb says:

    how about motion detection/tracking and IR. and maybe a tazer (or even smg), you know, as a crime deterrent.

  8. Basil says:

    @caleb: I was planning to build in motion detection sensor in the next revision. I hope I will be able to find a solution that would not compromise battery life too much.

  9. Steve says:

    I imagine he didn’t include a pan/tilt/rotate feature because it would require power hungry motors. The description says up to a MONTH of operation (pretty incredible considering it’s polling an email hourly). If panoramic photos were needed I believe adding 2 more cameras with overlapping FOV would be a less power hungry solution (just have the software take/send all 3 photos which could be stitched on the receiver side).

  10. AllThatJazz says:

    “Cellar” networks, eh? Is this device designed for underground organizations then?

  11. Basil says:

    @AllThatJazz “Cellar” networks as in “Wine Cellar”. This device could be used to see if your precious pinots are intact.

  12. Haku says:

    Instead of power consuming servos, add more cameras with wide-angle lenses?

  13. BruceJ says:

    It’s Fuzzy Dunlop!

    (See ‘The Wire’ season 2 for the ref…)

  14. Lee says:

    If it checks once an hour… how did he get the email so fast? Maybe simple video editing is the answer… anyway cool project!

  15. cadzilla says:

    Solar panels on geodesic dome structure for battery life as well as lipo batteries which can be obtained for free( email me and ill tell you where to get them) the PTZ feature could’ve been accomplished using flexwire , very strong , motors ,low power consumption. Mount cam on spring, tie off4 pieces muscle wire and apply current to the wire in whichdirection you want cam to go.

  16. kelly grammar says:

    Why is it that everything has to be 3d printed? It is my arduino. It is so superfluous and inefficient. Somebody needs to open source a under 800 dollar injection molder. If things like this take off then instead of an hour and fifteen dollars worth of materials and machine time, the case can be made for pennies in seconds.

  17. Basil says:

    @Lee You are right, this video was edited to fit into 40 second times. I guess if my name was Ingmar I could make an hour video wait exciting….

  18. Retroplayer says:

    Basil, with the motion detection, you could have only that section powered and only startup (and respond to email) when some activity is sensed. Battery life would probably be even longer that way.

    Tradeoff is that it doesn’t necessarily respond right away, but also means no boring pics wasting battery and bandwidth.

  19. cmholm says:

    Complicating the design, but stretching autonomous operation time ’til the bits rot would be a rechargeable CR123A battery, a pv cell on (a flattened) top, and related circuitry. Obviously, this is more than Basil required, but would be useful in the field if there’s cell coverage.

  20. JC says:

    Isn’t there an app for that?

  21. Anon says:

    reminds me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btO9fCvEe_A 00:18 mark

  22. Scott says:

    That is cool, I can think of a variety of other applications for this product as well. It would be great for looking under houses or in crawl spaces or to just take cool video or pictures around the neighborhood.

  23. wilfite says:

    Personally, I’m impressed they’ve finally found a way to harness the Vast, Untapped power of Cellar Networking. This could revolutionize technology as we know it. Oh yes my friend, today is a turning point to remember…the start of a New Era. Voici la puissance du réseau Cellar!

  24. ColinB says:

    If I thought I left some dangerous appliance on at home, I would wish for faster than 30 minutes delay to get an image! Couldn’t it be made more real-time? e.g., SMS received, take picture, send picture, — total time less than one minute.

    A 30 minute delay is more like communicating with Jupiter than to a GPRS-connected camera on Earth.

  25. Bob says:

    Yikes. 8 cents an hour and 70 cents whenever a picture is sent could cost quite a lot over a month.

  26. Xtremegamer says:

    Well since it does look clean why not add the cheap ir-sensors of those air refreshners.

    some also have a small motor to actuate the lever …

    and maybe set an interval that it sends a picture to a server that processes the image and depending on what the picture sends you an alert with picture included …

  27. Basil Shikin says:

    @ Xtremegamer IR-sensor is the next good idea to implement. I am a little weary of the idea about the server though. You see, to save network traffic an image would have to be lossy-compressed. Unfortunately, I am not sure I could come up with a reliable algorithm for fuzzy image comparison.

  28. lolowski says:

    Reminds me of Deus Ex surveillance cameras

  29. IceBrain says:

    There are some gadgets which claim to harvest energy from Wifi signals, maybe one could be used/made to extend the battery life?

  30. nimitzbrood says:

    This plus a hexapod would be pure awesome.

  31. Lucia says:

    Are the “Cellar networks” some throwback to Jet Set Willy nostalgia? Did I miss a cheat? There were quite some secret passages in the game.

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