So, a couple of weeks ago I got my hands on a Watchbot, a wifi-connected webcam that can be controlled from your computer or your phone. I’ve been wanting to play with one of these for a few years now. You may remember the early days of the Internet, when webcams were a novelty; well, back then I had wanted to set up a fishcam, a webcam trained on my aquarium for the world to see. Well, we’re older and wiser now, so I’ve gotten over the whole fishcam idea, but with 3 year olds running around the house, a webcam is just perfect to keep an eye on them; and I’ve got the camera rigged up so I can watch them on my smartphone while I’m at work. How cool is that!
The Watchbot comes all packed in a box with all the bits you need. Setting it up was pretty simple; just a matter of attaching the wifi antenna, plug in the power adapter and hook it up to your router. The box includes some software, but as the configuration on the webcam can all be done using your browser I never got round to installing it. Pointing your browser at the webcam you are presented with a login screen, and once this is traversed you have a whole selection of configuration options, including the ability to see what the camera is seeing. This is where it gets really cool; the camera can be panned and tilted using the web interface, which means you can follow what’s going on in the room regardless of where it’s happening. It even has an option to automatically pan around the room and see what’s happening. Here’s what the control panel looks like:
One great feature of the camera is that it automatically configures itself to be available from outside your home network if you wish. It does this by using uPNP to configure your router to allow communication to the webcam, and publishing the details using a Dynamic DNS entry on the Watch-Bot.net domain. All you need to do is take note of the URL, remember your username and password and you can view your webcam from anywhere you like. You can even get apps for your phone that make it really easy to watch what’s going on.
I’ve really enjoyed playing with this one, thanks to the Wifi, you can mount the camera anywhere you like in your house, all it needs is a power connection. You can even configure it to contact you if it detects motion. It even has sound and IR capabilities for night-vision. Everyone should have one of these 🙂
Oh yes, and if you’re getting one this month, use code WB730782 for a 50% discount from the Watchbot website