Yesterday’s article on Luxand’s Blink, free facial recognition login software, was a bit of a hit – lots of reads, and lots of application downloads. So, I’ll take that as a sign of overall interest in free web cam applications.
Here are a couple of specialty web cam applications, that will turn your webcam into a security system of a sort.
In the last year I’ve done just that, since, in my neighborhood, the only form of crime where we have seen an appreciable increase is Burglary. From a personal perspective I’m concerned with this increase – electronic equipment seems to be a favorite target during a break and enter.
Being a Techno geek, I suspect I have far more electronic equipment, and toys, than the average person, and this increases my risk of loss. So, I have increased my perimeter security, windows, doors, and so on, very substantially. To supplement this increase in physical security, I have added a number of Web Cams strategically located both inside, and out.
Since I’m conservative in my spending habits (I’m cheap!), I searched for and found, a more than adequate software solution to my next question – how do I drive these cameras?
I took a close look at two of the free Windows software applications available for download, and tested them thoroughly, to ensure that either one would meet my needs. If you’re a Linux user, see the note at the end of this article.
Don’t be spooked by my harsh 6 AM Monday morning mug shots – definitely not my best time of day. 🙂
Setting up Secure Cam is a breeze since the interface is minimal. Simply launch the application, and from the main menu select your device, select the device format and then initialize the device.
You will then need to set the application options – click on the image in the Secure Cam window to bring up the options dialog box. Choose your options and you’re good to go.
I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance.
Automatically captures images when motion is detected
Adjustable motion detection trigger level
Supports up to 99 cameras
DVR card capable
Capture Images when motion is detected, or continuous
Image sensitivity adjustment
Image Archiving (1,000s of images)
Dynamically expanding and contracting archive
Archive images from minutes, to years
Application viewer for image playback
Image playback at various speeds
Low processor and memory usage
Adjustable Jpeg Quality
Image Rotating, & Flipping
If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, Secure Cam may be just what you have been searching for. In fact, this is the application I settled on.
System requirements: Windows (all), DirectX 9 or greater, 600Mhz Pentium 3 with 128MB Memory, Web Cam or DVR PCI card
Download at: Source Forge
Rise Sun is another free web cam surveillance application I looked at that’s perhaps not quite as feature rich as Secure Cam. But, if you don’t need all of these features, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), this application is a very acceptable alternative that will meet your basic surveillance needs.
(No, I don’t really have green dots on my face – this is the motion detector in action).
Installation is straightforward and the interface is simple – no esoteric manual to digest here. New users should not encounter any difficulty getting this application to perform as advertised.
Works on all webcam models available on the market.
Powerful motion detection algorithm that allows flexible adjustments to suit your needs.
Extended Period Algorithm (For Extra Precision)
Automatically take pictures, logs events or display silent warnings when motion is detected.
Silent Alarm, Alarm, Motion Logging System
Extended Threshold, Sensibility and Performance Variables
Automatic Snapshot (JPG Compression to reduce file size.
While I haven’t run this application for very long, other than for testing purposes, it’s a very capable application. It does what it’s designed to do, and turns your webcam into a fully functioning motion detection video surveillance system.
System requirements: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7.
Download at: Download.com
Note: If you’re a Linux user you haven’t been left out in the cold. Checkout – Motion, a software motion detector, here. Since I now run Ubuntu more than half the time, this application is on my testing to-do list.
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