Author Options:

Scholarship Robot Proposal: Perimeter Security Bot Answered

A few years ago my house was broken into. Thankfully, nothing of to great of value was stolen. They only stole $60 out of a small personal safe (not traceable and did more property damage than anything else), had no idea who broke into our house or if they were ever caught, and no way of providing any evidence to convict anyone. So it got me thinking, what if I had a bot that ran around scanning the house (visually and audibly), linked up to an old pc that uploaded live feed from it, and have an alarm capability that if it detected someone that would trigger the iRobot to have the live feed stored to the hard disk on a remote web server. That way if we do get broken into ever again, I will have evidence on file! The iRobot would have a "normal live feed only" function and an "alarm on" function. The difference between the two would be that the normal mode would just send live feed onto my web portal and not store it on the remote hard disk. That way if someone is home it will not store hours of my family walking around, while my hosting storage gets filled up. "Alarm on" mode would allow the iRobot sensors to sense a person and tell it to store the feed on the remote HD. It will do this for 10minutes, after the time is up it will then reset the timer, and begin the whole process again. Again, this is keeping any false alarms (such as my cats) from filling up HD space. Sensors: To detect any object (like a human) only requires an IR sensor to detect a moving body of heat. It is like the ones you see in some buildings with the plastic covers over them and leds blink when an object passes in front of it. Another words a thermal motion detector I would also incorporate a high frequency detector. It would detect loud sharp noises, like glass breaking. Then of course the crt camera with audio linked to an onboard wireless transceiver. old PC with Proprietary software and high speed wireless router I eventually will hope to one day build this robot, if you have any suggestions I would be glad to hear them. Thank you for your consideration!


SacTownSue, No worries, this is the one I will build. I also will include other ideas for add on features, so you can pick and chose the peripherals right for you. I will try to keep cost as low as possible since that will be a major concern with others. Just don't let my creation fool you, I intend on using up a lot my excess carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, and other goodies, that I have stocked piled over the years. Thanks for the comment :)

nacho, -I have been thinking about doing that, I just didn't want to not have something posted by Wednesday. I will do that in the final submission after I work all the kinks out, just to add a semi-professional look to my instructable. - I also have a nice stock pile of composite material and electronics. So my actual $$$ investment will be very low and my cost will probably not exceed $100. - Due to the response from this post this will be my end project for the contest if I win a Create. :D I would like to thank everyone who has commented on this post and for their support!

. Looking at the drawings, I think you're a little top heavy. May just be because it's not to scale.
. It might be helpful to draw out a "real" flowchart. You can find flowcharting apps all over the 'Net - I'd start at http://www.sourceforge.net/ . Much easier to edit than pen and paper.
. Unless you just happen to have a carbon fiber pole laying around, a wooden dowel or metal tubing will be cheaper.

I need this. I hope you do this one. My neighbors don't understand boundaries. What I really need but can't afford is some hungary rotweilers! I had most of my garden tools stolen last month out of my backyard.

-I have just posted some sketches I drew at lunch today. This should give you guys a BASIC overview of how I would construct this robot. I tried to squeeze in as much detail as possible (and my free hand needs work!) on a piece of paper. -The drawings are not to scale and are approx. positions of where components will be. I hope this helps!

-Nacho, Point well taken! :)

Sounds good to me. You'll just have to find whatever fits your needs/wants.
. I think that the siren/strobe is a great idea, but <heavy sigh> in today's society if 'you deafen and/or blind the intruder you may be legally liable. I'd keep the 'volume/brightness low enough to scare but not harm. Now if you could figure 'out a reliable way to kill the intruder, ... LOL'

Well, Nachomahma I thought about putting weapons on it, but then it would be my luck it would shot me or a loved one. I am good at making weapons, but glitches can occur and I do not want to take that chance. I also know that sense I live in a small southern town( I know people from doing computer work like the Judge and a few officers), I would have citizens backing me.

-I agree, what has the US come too when a crook can break in to your house, get hurt, and then sue you?

Then again, killing the thief would do the community some good, it's just I don't want to have clean up duty either.... LOL

> Well, Nachomahma
. Please! Call me Nacho. heehee
. Sounds like we're on a common wavelength. I did say "reliable." :)
. I've been told by more than one LEO/lawyer/judge that you do not want to wound an intruder - if you're gonna do something do it right. And the ever popular, "I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6."
. I think we've gotten a wee bit off topic.

-NachoMahma Well, I just don't want another thief getting away like that. We were like the 3rd out of a total of 5 break ins that day; on the same road none the less! I think instead of it trying to load live video that can take up some major space and upload time. I will have it snap a picture every second for 10seconds, that way the alarm features (1loud painful siren and strobe lights that will visually impair someone) will not interfere with the quality of the pictures. I will use the live feed video just as a remote viewing option. So pictures of the thief can be quickly uploaded, sent to a remote server, and ready to send to the police. ;) What do you think? :)

. Sounds good to me. You'll just have to find whatever fits your needs/wants.
. I think that the siren/strobe is a great idea, but <heavy sigh> in today's society if you deafen and/or blind the intruder you may be legally liable. I'd keep the volume/brightness low enough to scare but not harm. Now if you could figure out a reliable way to kill the intruder, ... LOL

Oh, about the dog comment. I know some people down the road from where I live that lost their pet dog from a thief shooting it. That is why I made that comment. Some people can be that heartless!!!!

. OIC. . If I'm home (usually so, I'm a hermit), my dogs are the least of a intruder's problems. Where I live, it's still OK to shoot an intruder. ;) . If I'm not home, I can see where someone would have to shoot the Pit-mix to stop her. But then the shooter will have me to deal with. I'm pretty small, but I'm sneaky and have next to no conscience. heehee

You say you don't want hours of family or cat pictures, but you plan on using a simple IR detector for record/standby. Is the connection with the computer going to be two way so that some form of IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) program will tell the robot to continue to observe or to ignore and return to sweeps?

Well, jtobako I want to try to keep things as simple as possible. The contest doesn't allow much time (about two months till deadline) to really go into that much coding. I have thought about how I was going to achieve an acceptable error rate on that matter. However, just like Nachomahma stated I can adjust the sensitivity to an acceptable rate. If that proves not to work then, yes I will probably have to bite the bullet and build a program to do that. Also note that when no one is in the house the cats are almost always outside! I would also like to state that I will be implementing a remote to arm and de-arm the the robot as well. So when I walk in I can shut the alarm off before it goes off as well. I am in the process of laying out some sketches and diagrams on how I am going to set this up. So be on the look out for those by mid week. Thanks!!

Definitely, as a computer tech. I have spare computers and stuff like that. I was thinking of having my small form factor pc mounted in our file cabinet and hooking it up to our battery backup. We have like 2 desktops in the house, so I am betting on that they will be too preoccupied on those and not the one doing the recording. I am also thinking of later adding in face recognition software (much later and not for the second contest, I don’t have that kind of programming skills) using open sources. I do agree with you on the sensors, I think I will add on something that would try to scare off the thief. I also have thought about the dogs, but if some one wanted in they could dispose of them easily with a gun! I did some freelance work with a friend that use to install security cameras with the option of remote viewing and I was thinking of using those type infrared/color ccd camera. I know the ones I have used in the past work fairly well. I also think instead of on full time I am going to just set a timer. Or if I have time set it up where I can log into it remotely and even try to get it were I have the ability to tell it remotely where I want it to go in the house. I know there is an almost endless array of possibilities for this concept. I hope that if I get one of the 15 Creates, that I will have the time to squeeze in as many features as I can without sacrificing performance.  NachoMahma thanks for the support!!!

. Sounds like you have a very good plan. . Not sure I understand the comment about dogs.

I hope to have some sketches up soon!!

Ah, I knew I was forgetting something! I am glad you pointed that out to me. I have 4 11.1v 3000mah LiPo batteries from my r/c planes that I was going to use as the power supply (with a transformer and regulator of course) and I am still thinking of a way to dock the robot to a lipo charger. The LiPo batteries have to be charged individually or a cell may overcharge and explode!!! So yes there will be some obstacles to overcome, but I know I can handle it and hope others will comment their ideas as well. THANKS!

. Oh yeah. Not particularly important for the contest, but if the recording computer is stolen, everything that hasn't been uploaded off-site is gone. It needs to be in a (relatively) secure location and uploading as fast as possible when in alarm mode. . Have you thought about what actions the 'bot should take in alarm mode? Should it freeze, announce itself, or use some hide-in-plain-sight tactic? . As far as the cat goes, you should be able to set threshhold levels for the triggers (or logicly link/weight the sensors so that you have to have two or more triggers) that will ignore the cat most of the time and still be effective. I have two dogs and would appreciate a feature that limited the number of false positives. . The more I think about this one, the more I like it.

. Of course, with two dogs, who needs a sentry? ROFL

. It might be worth the expense of getting a low-light/IR camera so you don't have to carry power for lighting at night.

. Another great idea! Sounds like you spent quite a bit of time thinking this out. . The only suggestion I have is to NOT send pics to the computer (or send them infrequently) when in "normal" mode to save power. . OK, one more. You need some way for the 'bot to recharge itself when the batteries get low (or on a schedule). Manual recharging is sooo passe. LOL