Picture of USB Spy Shirt

I always thought it would be cool to have a button camera on my shirt so I could secretly record whatever I wanted to. I mean the possibilities are endless: gathering evidence, blackmail, private investigation, blackmail, research, blackmail.

Unfortunately, some of those little cameras cost up to $300. So whats a broke engineering student to do, you ask? Why not whip something up from some of the stuff I already have.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
1. Laptop
2. Laptop bag
3. Laptop USB camera, the smaller the better, and it should have at least a 4 foot cord. I used the GE camera shown in the picture below.
4.Shirt with black buttons. (A dark color shirt is best)
5. Scissors or a knife

Step 2: Prepare the camera

Picture of Prepare the camera
To prepare the camera you must remove all nonessential parts in order to slim down size.

For my camera this included removing the plastic case and the clip. Without those pieces the final camera size was down to about an inch square and a centimeter tall. Try to get the size of your camera as small as possible so it can be easily hidden.

Step 3: Prepare the shirt

Picture of Prepare the shirt
Find the button location that will provide the best vantage point for the camera. For my shirt it was the first button under the collar button.

Cut off that button. On the inside of the shirt cut a hole through the hemming, this will provide an area for the camera to rest. Then cut another hole for the lens of the camera to stick through. The hole in the hemming is so that the USB cord can be woven around the buttons.

Step 4: Combine the camera and the shirt

Picture of Combine the camera and the shirt
If it is possible for you to fit the USB plug around the buttons inside the hem, then all you need to do is push the plug down through the hem and cut a hole at the bottom for the plug to come out of.

Otherwise you can either sew the cord to the inside of the shirt, or cut holes in the hem around the buttons, and weave the cord in and out.

Once the entire length of cord is through the shirt.

Step 5: Add the laptop and the bag

Picture of Add the laptop and the bag
I choose this light messenger bag instead of the padded one that came with my laptop because it provides better air circulation. Remember: The laptop is going to be turned on inside the bag so if your laptop runs particularly hot, you might be at risk of overheating.

Place the laptop in the bag with the USB ports facing the side closest to where the cord comes out of your shirt.

Step 6: Record

Picture of Record
Use a camera recording software such as vision gs to capture video from your USB spy shirt.

Step 7: Possibilities

Picture of Possibilities
The possibilities for this project are vast.

The most interesting thing I can can think of right now would be to use my schools wifi network to wirelessly broadcast the signal online. It could then be used like a live video blog where people see everything going on in my life.
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But in the spirit of cruft, he has succeeded in what he wanted to do :D
ausman084 years ago
y do u need a spy camera on a shirt that ur wearing
killa6965 years ago
Hmmmm... if you had a small old cameraphone, you could mount the camera from the cameraphone on a shirt and make the whole thing a lot smaller, but it wouldn't be very good quality. Also, to record more than 10 minutes, you would need a mini sd, preferably one with a lot of space. Also, you could get something like a deodorant can or a cd player or alarm clock, mount the camera on it, set the cameraphone to record to the mini sd, sneak inside someone's room and record what they do all day. On second thought, the deodorant can isn't a good idea because it will most likely get thrown out. By the way, does anyone know the privacy laws in Australia?
also wireup a button into another button to start/stop recoreding that would be easy(im thinking arduino and python)
Would be easier to use a piece of software to use a joystick to control apps and mod the joystick so its one  button
ptacnik5 years ago
black buttons could camouflage the camera better i think
alfio015 years ago
Great idea! I had also thought of being able to put the cam in a sweatshirt hood so that it can record back to lectures
WoW this is sooo.... wow!!! im gonna try it ;)
stealthy3295 years ago
whoa dude!! that is so friggin cool!! thanx 4 postin that. that is very helpful to me.
Lance Mt.6 years ago
Useful but could you experiment with either mics and/or walky-talky although i do like that.
nyo96 years ago
very cool project by the way i have the same pocket knife
Seen this before.
I would put the camera in my sunglasses..... Talk about James Bond...... You could then link it to a laptop outside the casino via wireless usb hub.... Make some type of usb led controller....... Get where I am going......
if you ever find out how to do that, do let me know
soo kipkay- see metacafe dot com
kipkay to the rescue! lol, no realy, this rocks.
Tobita6 years ago
Hello, may i kill you for your Umbrella Corporation patch?
cool idea
BobicusIX6 years ago
I noticed you said blackmail 3 times in your intro. Are you obsessed with black mail?
you could buy one of those wireless webcams and do the same thing then u wouldnt have to carry a laptop everywhere
What is the range of those cameras, though?
it depends on the camera
acer50506 years ago
love it but... laptop will overheat
thepaul936 years ago
laptop will overheat
DaNerd117 years ago
hmmmmmm, i could prolly blackmail someone with this......
Lego man7 years ago
Is there a way I can connect this to a camcorder? because a laptop doesn't always fit in.
honse2467 years ago
lol cool! but i dont have a laptop is thare any thing i can plug into my pc and at the end of the usb cord ?? like so it can be connected wirelessly ???
No, there isn't. You could use something smaller, like an EEE or perhaps a top end PDA, though. Another cheaper and easier way would be to hack a small flash video camera. I'm sure someone else has done an Instructable already, and I'm busy hacking one up at the moment. In brief, simply take it apart, detach the camera from the lead, chop the lead in half, solder in a length of lead, and put the cable back on the camera, then put the screws back in. Ta-da!
lol yeh i might try to do tht !
fib3roptix7 years ago
You should attach them into the eyes of a painting that would be kinda cool.
how about making it wirelessly transmit to ur home pc? now THAt would be awesome!
yoshine7 years ago
Sorry I don't live in comunism ... big brother is watching
zawmintu8 years ago
hey, have you thought about using the new soni vaio ux (some model number)

well that would be pretty cool to use wiht a micro computer.


How would you broadcast it live on your school's intranet?
1) You need to make a server
2) how you stay connect to the wifi connection, connect to it (without being noticed), then have it broadcasted?

(wont you need to dev some software for that? lol)

ac1D zawmintu7 years ago
some software will upload your camera by ftp every secondes. you could make a little webpage that would automaticcaly update after 1 secondes. I did it for my psp.
problem one can be fixed easy appache2triad(spelling) is so easy to set up and use a 13 year old (me) can have a website or blog or any other internet content running in minutes an as for number 2 if the connection is open i think his school dont care about people being on it or there just flat out idiots
Tetranitrate (author)  zawmintu8 years ago
Without being noticed? My schools got an open connection.
aww dang lucky... you didnt know how hard it was to decrpt the damm hash password for the wep... then you find out that it was 123456789987654321 ..... lol
Shink7 years ago
Yeah what that last bloke said about it being illegal to film people without their permission in the UK...thats not true!-It only applies to private land (so schools, peoples houses, pubs, stadiums etc)-its perfectly within your right to digitally capture someone on the street or in a park! ...so there :p
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