Idea for microcontroller project - Any takers?

 
Here's an idea for a simple microcontroller project which occurred to me.  Not something I'm going to build and not something I have an immediate use for, so I'm throwing it out here to see if anyone wants to take it up.  Using something like an Ardweeny, it could be an entry in the Arduino contest.

The idea is to made a motion triggered wildlife video camera, using a PIR sensor, a standard keychain camera, a microcontroller and a LiPo battery.  That, minimal wiring and effort and you'd have a very small device you could leave by food, a crossing point or animal track and it would record video only when an animal passed by.  Leave the camera in place for a couple of days, then take out the SD card and play back the .AVI files on your PC to see what's been happening. 

For construction, you'd need to disassemble the camera as per the linked video, and test how the 'record' button operates - It's probably just switched to 0V so could be driven with a logic output.   You'd remove the camera battery and wire in a larger LiPo instead for endurance. This would also power the controller and sensor.  The PIR sensor (with regulator bypassed, as per Sparkfun datasheet) would be an input to the microcontroller, and the programming would consist of monitoring the PIR output for pulses and triggering a 2 second pulse on the camera button to start recording.  After a period of no PIR pulses, the camera 'switch' would be pulsed again to end recording.  Put it all in a waterproof enclosure with access for the 'business end' of the camera element and you have a motion triggered wildlife camera. "Seemples", as the Meerkovian rat-creature says.

Wire up a bank of infra-red diodes, increase the battery capacity and remove the IR filter on the camera and this may even work as a night-vision camera.

Any takers?


Grathio5 years ago
This project is very nearly exactly what you're after. 
No schematics or code, but lots of explanation and photos. Maybe the author could be encouraged to share them.
AndyGadget (author)  Grathio5 years ago

As I say up top, I'm not planning to make one of these - I'm just posting the idea as a project for someone else to pick up if they want to.
Your project in the link looks exactly like what I'm proposing.  I wonder if they finished it.
Or for about $50 you can by an actual trail camera. Its a good idea for a project but in the end you will have spent more putting it together then it would cost to buy the real thing.

http://www.amazon.com/Moultrie-Gamespy-Megapixel-Digital-Camera/dp/B003K22WIS
AndyGadget (author)  mpilchfamily5 years ago

That is true of many things, but where does the DIY ethos enter into clicking Amazon's 'buy' button.  For a Maker, pleasure is to be gained from the design and build process.  Any enthusiastic electronics DIYer would already have most of the parts listed.  I would have the whole thing, if only I could find the keychain camera I mislaid a couple of months ago.

Your link has suggested another feature :-  Use another two micro outputs to trigger a flashgun and the 'snapshot' button of the camera t take still wildlife photos at night.