This is a project of a live streaming camera I made with my friend Jeff for our Physical Computing Class at the VCU Brandcenter. It was inspired by the relationship five little girls I used to babysit have with my dog Borealis. I wanted to give them a way to see his adventures online now that we live in two different cities.
You can easily make adjustments and put it on your own backpack or turn it into a security camera.
Here is what you will need
Alternatively you can use a Portable Travel Charger.
Step 1: Putting together the Solar Panel
If you don't want to adventure into Solar Energy you can substitute this step by getting a Portable USB Charger. The kind you can buy for your Phone.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Raspi Cam
If you have used a Raspberry Pi before, you will be familiar with many of these steps, but if you are new to it they will be very helpful.
pi@raspberrypi~$ sudo apt-get update
pi@raspberrypi~$ sudo apt-get upgrade
Then Enable your camera.
pi@raspberrypi~$ sudo reboot
Step 3: Setting up Streaming
There are many different ways to set up a stream from the Raspi Cam, but the one that requires the least amount of worry about devices and browsers from which people will watch your stream is the Mjpg-Streamer set-up.
Before you do anything. Make sure your wireless dongle is connected to your wifi. Now we need to make sure you are properly connected to the wifi.
Type the following to start GUI (Graphic User Interface):
Now you will have to launch the WifiConfig from your Desktop.
The Pi Hut will walk you though the next steps.
You want to make sure that your wifi connection is stable. If your connection is unstable your Wifi Config application will show you continually connecting and disconnecting. Streaming requires you being connected at all times so make sure you are using the best network (I used the hotspot on my phone and it worked great)
The application should also show you your IP address. Take note of it. You will need it later. It should look like this: 192.168.1.116
We used the Instructions written up by Miguel Grinberg to get this portion working. They will lead you step by step.
It will be useful for you to know that you can play around with options for the raspistill command (taking still shots), and you can do the same for raspivid command.
Simply type the following into your terminal:
Step 4: Creating a local host tunnel
Now you have your camera streaming to your local network. This is great if you just want to use your RaspiCam as a local security network, but it will not allow you to view the footage if you are at work or out for a walk with your dog. The quickest and easiest way to change that is to create a tunnel from the internet to your local network, it will also not cost you a dime.
To accomplish this we used ngrok.
pi@raspberrypi~$ unzip /path/to/ngrok.zip
Here the /path/to/ stand for the location to which you downloaded your file. I downloaded it to /home/pi/, which allows me to just type
pi@raspberrypi~$ unzip ngrok.zip
We will use this address to tell ngrok which local network it should be running the tunnel to. Type:
pi@raspberrypi~$ ./ngrok 192.168.1.116:8080
Make sure you use your local IP.
pi@raspberrypi~$ hostname -I
Step 5: Putting it all together
So now you have a working Solar panel and a working RaspiCam. You need to make sure that all of your parts are safely protected from the weather. For that we used Insta Morph. It's is a plastic that melts in hot water and is very moldable, but when it cools down it becomes hard.
We had a case for the Raspberry Pi from the Cana Kit, but if you don't have one, Insta Morph is a great little tool to make one.
Now you are ready for some field testing.
Step 6: Field Testing
When it comes to working with dogs (and many humans too), make sure you field test before you publish. In my case, we run into a few kinks with how the parts were secured in the backpack and the solar panel not getting enough sun. So take it out a few times and see how it goes.
In the process of field testing, it might be helpful for you to create a command for your raspberry pi with all of the steps rather than having to type all of them into the terminal over and over again. If you want to learn how to do that, send me a message.
A quick and simple solution for all the typing... use the uparrow on your keyboard. It brings up the most recent commands you wrote out.
Hope you have fun with this one!