Front Door Camera Sends Automatic Alerts By Text

In these turbulent times, journalists fearmonger and honest citizens fear for the safety of their homes and themselves. Adding some security features can allay these fears, and with the advent of cheap technology, front door cameras have become popular. There’s a wide array of options on the market, but short of watching hours of logged video, they’re not always super useful. Adding some smarts can really help – as [Peter Quinn] has done.

For this project, [Peter] decided on a JeVois smart camera. More than just a USB webcam, it also packs a quad-core processor running machine vision algorithms. This allows object recognition and other tasks to be run on the camera itself. In this setup, [Peter] configured the JeVois camera to detect people. When a human is detected upon the doorstep, the camera sends a message to the connected Raspberry Pi over serial. The Raspberry Pi then captures a JPEG still from the camera over the USB connection, and, using Twilio, sends a notification to [Peter]’s phone.

It’s a well-integrated system that automatically photographs visitors to [Peter]’s home, requiring little to no interaction from the user. We’ve seen other integrated machine vision platforms, too – such as the OpenMV, which got its start as a Hackaday Prize entry, way back in 2017.

24 thoughts on “Front Door Camera Sends Automatic Alerts By Text

  1. Is anyone still building surveillance setups that are off line?
    Because of what is available to me, I’d have to use some older hardware (single core PCs) to just capture the video and, (if hardware & software permits), also the audio from some thrift store web cams.

    No analyses needed other than maybe just simple motion detection to time mark or is it practical (hardware wise?) to record separate file of a few moments around the motion event.

    1. Nope, everything uses the cloud. the cloud makes it better. Store your video on the cloud, view using the cloud, configure using the cloud. All you need to do is give the cloud full access to your camera, WiFi credentials, facebook login, microphone, speakers, files, cell location, etc.

    2. The only reason I stored the photos in the cloud was to be able to text a link. Otherwise this system could be completely offline. One reason I built my own was that I didn’t want to share my video with some dodgy server, even if it’s just the outside of my house.

    3. Take a look at MotionEyeOS or the venerable ZoneMinder (though I love perl, and do it constantly, ZM’s codebase isn’t very nice to work on). MotionEyeOS looks to be pretty decent for a modern solution for this and I plan on using it to build a peephole camera “soon”.

    4. I’ve setup a Raspberry Pi Zero W as a quick, cheap, and relatively practical CCTV system by just following a guide. As long as you can get a USB power cable to it and not have it stolen you could in theory mount this anywhere about your home / workplace and it be pretty inconspicuous. You also don’t need the pi zero spesifc camera module a cheap webcam should also work I just wouldn’t expect it to work well in low light, the audio from the cheap webcam should also work but I wouldn’t know how you’d go about recording both at once, you can also set it up for motion detection and object recognition. You could in theory make it portable as well but I wouldn’t really do that unless you had an awful lot of batteries to go with it, making an uninterruptible power supply in case of accidental power loss but Pi Zero when its doing something isn’t that energy efficent. I’ll have to actually test this myself some day but I think a Pi Zero W can use about 300mA to 400mA when youre doing a lot of heavy workloads and trying to use the WiFi.

      It wouldn’t be very hard to setup a simple FTP server either on the Pi itself that you can manually access, remotely on someone elses computer aka the cloud, or on your local network using a PC or old laptop as an FTP server or just keep a big ass SD card in the Pi Zero.

      If I ever get around to rebuilding mine I’m adding at least one powerful IR LED to the mix and get night vision and I might do a write up on it.

    5. Obviously everybody has reliable high speed bi-directional internet available available and wants to upload personal videos and photos 24/7 to some foreign black box run by an unscrupulous corporate vendor who quantifies and sells your personal information tagged to your location, email, ip address, and likely full unrestricted backdoor access to your network.

  2. “In these turbulent times, journalists fearmonger and honest citizens fear for the safety of their homes and themselves. Adding some security features can allay these fears, and with the advent of cheap technology, front door cameras have become popular. ”

    As part of, security from a leaky cloud, offline solutions should becoming pretty popular. It’s not like the technology isn’t out there, or too expensive.

  3. The software ‘motion’ will just do this, with (relatively) few ressources.
    Works well here on a OrangePi Zero 256MB with a cheap USB-Camera with IR-filter removed.
    Alternatively any old Android phone with an app like ‘IP Webcam Pro’ will do.

    On the receiving end only browser is required, or for Android something like ‘tinyCam Pro’
    Both apps have motion-detection already built in, and tinyCam may be automated with Tasker.

  4. From the tutorial : “To make a stable base, I took the small cardboard box that the Jevois was shipped in, cut a small hole in the top and glued a 1/4-20 bolt in the top. ”

    Ah, a man after my own heart.

  5. As always, the technical possibilities are almost endless.
    Unfortunately, where I live, recording and processing of personal data is strictly governed by law.
    There are a lot of things that are possible, but illegal to do without the proper paperwork.

    One of these things is uploading recordings to the cloud.
    I understand many people are, or pretend to be, unaware of this and just do it. Nobody is actively looking for this “misuse” so there are no repercussions.
    However, it is important to understand such illegal recordings will be not admissible in a court of law, if needed.

    1. That’s an interesting interpretation. In your jurisdiction are you not able to record video on private property? Given this is a “front door camera” that obviously seems to be the use case.

  6. ZoneMinder for Linux — if it works. And, while it’s nominally supported by a community of users, you might end up solving the problem yourself. The author of the software seems to have moved on to other interests. You still might find that you can whip it into shape for what you need.

    For example, I acquired, very cheaply, a few high quality, color, PTZ cameras formerly used in a high end video conferencing setup. They appeared to be supported under ZoneMinder, but, in reality, the driver was full of errors and didn’t work. It took a week of studying the manual for the cameras, experimenting with settings and rewriting the (Perl?) driver, but they did end up working and quite well at that.

    1. A quick skim and Zone alarm looks to have good features.
      Next thing would be is there still a version of linux that will run on my hardware and yet handle the tasks.
      Amazing how quickly we suck up the hardware and horsepower with every new version of things.

  7. My problem is firstly a budget one.
    Second thing is wanting a closed system. So absolutely NO wifi, bluetooth, cloud or any cell phone stuff.
    The budget means that I’m stuck with some (things I already have) PC consoles of nothing less than ten~twelve years old.
    Buying a few $8~$10 cameras at the thrift shop will eat what little finances I have. Seems that Logitech pro 9000 are plentiful at the moment
    No money for any single board comps or whatever else.
    Just scrounging for cast off hardware from friends and neighbors or the odd Craigslist freebie grab.
    It’s simply got to run on the old junk I still have or I can’t do this.
    I suspect a lot of us come here looking for ways to get a little more use out some funtional hardware we’ve saved from the recycling pile.
    Shit guys, Life’s really that tight at times.

    And after all that,
    I’ll still need to try to re-learn how to set up the recording software so that it all restarts after a power loss event.

    Just a Piece of cake huh! :D

  8. Realistically, I’d suggest you are living in la-la land.
    Gotta say this comes across as more of a whine that something isn’t ‘Free, Free, Free!!!” than anything concrete.
    ~$10 for a Zero, and some cheap cameras and wire should do a decent job for the vast majority of people.
    Bespoke is always more expensive.

    You want something, however you have unrealistic demands.
    Part of the Cloud ‘benefit’ is not having to have additional on-prem equipment.
    In addition to wanting on-prem, you also have no budget.
    A lot of GM owners want a luxury car, and don’t for the same reason as here.
    Reality is either find a way to get budget, live without or with modified scope, or do without.
    It is actually a piece of cake if you can source most of the equipment for free, the downside is you have to put in some sweat equity.

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