Looking for a cheap way to keep an eye on something? [Kevin Hester] pointed us to a way to make a WiFi webcam for under $10. This uses one of the many cheap ESP32 dev boards available, along with the Internet of Things platform PlatformIO and a bit of code that creates an RTSP server. This can be accessed by any software that supports this streaming protocol, and a bit of smart routing could put it on the interwebs. [Kevin] claims that the ESP32 camera dev boards he uses can be found for less than $10, but we found that most of them cost about $15. Either way, that’s cheaper than most commercial streaming cameras.
To be fair, this hack isn’t exactly brain surgery: all that [Kevin] is doing is taking a cheap piece of hardware and installing some open source software on it. (Editor’s note: But Kevin wrote the open-source software too! And that was brain surgery. Check out the comments for more details.) But sometimes that’s all you need, and this would be a good way to make a webcam that you won’t lose sleep over if it gets stolen or damaged.
UPDATE: We should clarify that there is a bit more brain surgery than we initially thought here: [Kevin Hester] actually wrote the Micro-RTSP library that makes the whole thing possible. Kudos to him for a neat bit of open source coding!