Although our city streets are packed with CCTV cameras, past reports have suggested that many are either in the wrong place or simply don’t work. Perhaps the Watchdog Security Robot is the answer.
Inspired by sci-fi movies such as Short Circuit, Evolver, and Star Wars, Josh got to work on an affordable DIY robot that can trundle around the streets, operate in cold and wet weather, work well in low light, and communicate. He wanted it to record HD video locally and stream via WiFi to a secondary source for online viewing. “I decided to use a Raspberry Pi. It has an excellent community and it’s moved past being a new gadget to a useful tool.”
At first, Josh spent time getting the chassis right, using the base of a Jazzy Select power chair. He stripped away unwanted parts such as the chair, footrest, original Jazzy electronics, and the front anti-tip wheels. He also bought a Sabertooth dual 12 A motor driver which is optimised for use in medium-powered robots and radio-controlled vehicles.
Struggling to find an off-the-shelf camera that met all his needs, he turned to the Pi 3: “It meant I could pick the camera module I needed, record to a hard drive, and have remote access.” Josh used four Pi 3 boards, each connected to a camera. “In the event one fails, all the others are independent and would continue recording.”
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