DIY Doorbell Will Send Pictures Of Your Guests To Your Droid.


I found this project on TechCrunch written up by John Biggs.  Read the entire article on his website for all the related comments, articles and fun stuff.  I am simply saving it here to copy it to a maker I know with an Arduino.

Say you’re a misanthrope and you’re afraid of humans. What to do? Well, you could cower in the dark when people ring your doorbell or you could laugh derisively at their smug faces in the screen of your iPhone. I’m going for the derisive laughter.

This DIY Arduino project involves a simple circuit, a webcam, and a few API calls to PushingBox to enable a truly enjoyable derisive experience.

The system works by pushing images grabbed by the webcam through PushingBox to an app like Prowl or When the doorbell is pressed, it sends a serial signal to the Arduino board which in turn notifies the various services. The webcam picture then gets sent over to you so you can decide whether to let whoever is outside in.

It’s probably a little more complex than it needs to be, but if you’re totally into watching the world pass you by it’s a great solution and a fun weekend project.

Project Page

How I am Building a Low Effort Home Surveillance System With My PC

I reviewed and installed Active WebCam.  Active WebCam would not communicate with my FTP server which is setup for sftp and is primarily a trial version of a purchased package despite all the labeling.  So it was out.

I moved to the much simpler Secure Cam which I like a great deal better. Secure Cam worked well with Motion sensors but was not easy to have the pictures sent and did tend to fill up my local hard disk even during the test.  Nothing that was going to provide a problem; however, it wasn’t easy to see how to keep the directory clean.

But the third bed was just right.


“Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is ;-). More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.”

I liked if from the description, and the Title: a nod to Yahoo! and earlier programs. It has a simple interface window (shown at right) and great documentation.

md_actions_emailIn addition to all of the usual features, and it appears to have the complete set, it has a excellent interface and monitoring setup for the motion sensor.  The motion sensor also allows you to run an executable and I would like to hack my house someday and have it turn on lights and an alarm (that will be a later project, aren’t they all); however, it is the only one that allows you to configure GMail SMTP server and email anyone with the pictures so that if the machine is taken, I will still have the images. 

This is a great tool and I am looking forward to using it for a variety of reasons, if nothing else, I at least get to use it to monitor my non-existent cat.