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Low Cost Custom Baby Monitor Using Onion Omega2 and an old Webcam

Posted by Jason Robinson on

The Onion Omega2 comes with a some simple but effective apps that you can utilize straight out of the gate.  When I saw there was a webcam app I wondered how well it could actually work.

Much to my surprise, when paired with an old Logitech Quick Cam Pro 9000 I was able to make a remote webcam that allowed me to make sure my little one was napping when he was supposed to - instead of say - destroying his room in protest.

The first thing you need to do is complete the First Time Setup found on the Onion.io website.  This is crucial to ensure that your firmware is up-to-date and your Omega2 is functioning normally.

One thing you may want to consider for this application is changing the default name of the Wi-Fi access point.  We did this just to make the access point blend into the sea of APs that are available.  You can do this on the "Wi-Fi AP Settings" tab on the Settings Menu.

Changing Onion Omega2 Wi-Fi AP Settings

 Once you've got your Omega2 through its basic setup, you will want to enable the webcam functionality.  This is done by clicking on the webcam icon on the Onion Console.

Webcam Icon located on the Onion Omega2 Console

 It may take a moment to do some initial setup, but if everything works correctly you should have a streaming image running from the webcam attached to the Omega2.

Streaming Webcam Imagery from Onion Omega2

Although there is nothing glamorous about a rack with routers and junk, it goes to show that this idea works.  Up until this point, we were powering everything off of 5V from the wall, so we hooked into our power supply to see how much current it was pulling just in case we wanted to run this off of a battery.

 

Power Usage of Omega2 Running Webcam Application

While the Omega2 is running but not streaming, there is 170mA consumption.  This increases to 330mA during streaming.  This means that we could run this off of a battery for enough time to monitor a nap if we so desired.

To complete our proof of concept for this project, we wanted to build a simple webcam application that allowed us to view the video stream from our phones or a tablet in the house.  The key here is that you can only view the stream if you are on the Wi-Fi AP, which gives this device a little more security.  This is one of the reasons we decided to change the name of the AP to help it blend in.  Like anything, if someone wants in bad enough they will get in but we don't keep it on long enough for it to be a real concern.

We love MIT's App Inventor 2, so we though we would use it to make an outrageously simply application to view the stream.  I'm not going to cover how to use App Inventor, but in essence, we are building an app to view a page. 

The URL for that stream will be: http://192.168.3.1:8080/?action=stream

If you point any device that is on that AP to the above URL, you should be able to see the streaming video when active.


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