Photo: Flickr / Incase
Your webcam is obviously handy as a communications device, but with help from software, you can turn it into a security camera pretty easily.There are plenty of reasons to take this on as an afternoon project.
Maybe your house has been broken into in the past and you’re looking for a cost-effective way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
You could also use it as a means to make sure a family member isn’t using your computer without permission.
Or maybe you just want to tackle a new project.
Working strictly over the internet, Ugolog harnesses your webcam as a security camera without any software installation (you need to use a webcam with motion detection capabilities).
Video is recorded directly to Ugolog's servers and you can tune in any time you like to watch a live stream of what your webcam is seeing.
Price: various monthly plans, the most expensive is $29.95 per month
Windows users will want to check out Yawcam, a free piece software that turns your webcam into a motion-sensitive security camera.
You can also view live video over the internet, shoot time-lapse movies, and set it to upload images to an FTP server however you like.
Price: free (donations encouraged)
If you'd like to make your webcam viewable to the public EyeSpyFX's MyWebcam Broadcaster is set up to make your video feed as public (or as private) as you like.
You can view your feed from anywhere you like on your mobile device -- just use the MyWebcam app, currently available for Android, Blackberry, Java Mobile, iPhone, and iPad.
The killer feature for EvoCam is 'Actions,' a way to make the software perform certain tasks when certain environmental things happen -- 'create timelapse movies, record movies when motion or sound is detected, publish a webcam image on a web server via FTP, or integrate EvoCam with your security system or home automation software.'
Price: free for 15 days, $30 after that
iSpy was originally created to hunt UFOs, but it has plenty of security applications as well. Monitor your home or office and supervise your nanny remotely. It can also pair with existing home automation systems.
For example, if it detects an intruder, it can 'instantly turn the lights on, play a sound of a dog barking and send yourself a framegrab directly to your mobile phone.'
UStream doesn't offer any motion detection capabilities, but as a free service it's still completely functional.
You can set your stream to be public or password-protected, and there's no time limit for recording. Let it run as long as you like and UStream will archive your video on their servers.
The Panasonic BL-C131A wireless network camera lets you control it remotely from another computer. You can pan and tilt around a room to see what's going on.
It also has plenty of useful sensors that let you configure it to be sensitive to motion, sound, or heat.
Price: around $200
The WoWee Rovio is a WiFi-controlled remote webcam that lets drive around your house and broadcast live video over the internet. If you'd like to be able to move around your place in real time, this is for you.
It has LED headlights and a waypoint system, meaning you won't have to manually steer it long distances.