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"Internet of Things" - Remote Control Camera Project

Automatic / email / remote controlled camera setup
Automatic / email / remote controlled camera setup



Cameras used :

  1. Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  2. Canon Powershot G10

Software used :

  1. Linux, ksh, sendmail, cron, curl
  2. gphoto2


This project involved mounting a full frame digital SLR on my bathroom window sill, 2 storeys up, protected by a wooden box, with a fine view along Bristol Harbour to the M-shed Museum and Prince Street Bridge.

The camera could be operated in 3 ways :

  1. By anyone anywhere in the world by sending an email to a specific email address with a specific subject line.
  2. Automatically from "cron" running on a linux host in the room below. This method used sunrise timetables to reduce shooting frequency at night and increase it around sunrise.
  3. Manually from the linux host in the room below (eg. while watching bungee jumpers, rainbows or fireworks etc.).


Example photos :

Bristol Harbour - sunrise (automatic / email / remote controlled camera)
Bristol Harbour sunrise

Bristol Harbour - rainbow (automatic / email / remote controlled camera)
Bristol Harbour - rainbow

Bristol Harbour - before dawn (automatic / email / remote controlled camera)
Bristol Harbour - before dawn


Camera activation via Email (by anyone anywhere in the world)

This worked by "cron" running a script, say every 30 seconds, to check a specific email account and check the subject lines of any new emails. If the Subject line contained the required text (eg. "takephoto") the script would take a photo (controlling the camera using "gphoto2"), save the full size image on the local server and email a reduced size copy back to whoever sent the email. With the Canon Powershot G10 it was also possible to specify the zoom level in the email Subject line.


Example photos :

Bristol Harbour - some photos from an earlier version of automatic / remote controlled camera
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