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Author Topic: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?  (Read 2922 times)

Glorfindel

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Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« on: May 15, 2013, 02:13:03 pm »

I have been wondering if anyone has found any inexpensive (max $50) cameras that could be placed around a room, but that still have fairly good quality. I know I could use the Kinect but all the angles of the room I will testing this in can't be covered by a single camera. Therefore it would be incredibly expensive to use the Kinect, when covering the whole house also becomes important. My plan is too write a program in visual basic that will take input from the cameras and look for people it recognizes using facial recognition. It seems there are many free API's for facial recognition at the moment that are pretty stable. My main use for this would be detecting who gave a specific command, so that when they use words like "my", in an example like "locate my phone", the computer would know who's phone to search for. Although another handy feature would be turning lights off in a room when people leave. 
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Tuicemen

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2013, 02:30:32 pm »

There are lots of good quality USB web cams out which can be found very cheep.
The issue is linking them. ??? ::) :`)
There are some new Android mini PCs that are coming on the market with a 3 megapixel cam
These may be out of your price range but depending on how many you need you might get the costs down to $50 per unit.
TAC with PCC can access these cameras(limited to 2 cameras currently)
However if your experienced in writing code you could put something else together for androids and a PC. ;>
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Glorfindel

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2013, 03:56:05 pm »

Hmm, a mini pc seems like a bit of an overkill for my needs. My plan was to use iHouse and your software (much like other people have done) with a computer in each major room in the house. Then I figured I would have little stationary usb cameras covering all angles of the room so that a front face was always visible on at least one of them. I didn't quite understand the issue you mentioned with linking them. Do you mean it's hard to have your program get a video feed? I must confess I am not a perfect programmer, most likely because I have spread myself too thin and learned lots of different languages but never to a complete level. Would I need an SDK or Library to retrieve a feed from the camera? I was thinking it might be easier to use the program to take a picture of the feed from the and run it through the facial recognition program rather than actual video. Would any of these ideas work? Also can you show me any of the webcams you found? I did a quick a search on amazon and didn't seem to find any relevant results. However, on both smarthome and x10's website I saw a few wireless IP cameras, do you think would work?  Although they are higher than I had originally hoped they are still cheaper than the Kinect. Anyway I am still not done searching but tell me if you find anything that would seem to work well. TIA  ;>
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Tuicemen

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 03:11:18 am »

Ok didn't realize you intended to have a PC connected in each room.
The issue now is currently windows can only handled one camera at a time unless you have special drivers.
PCC will handle a video feed as will iHouse the next issue is only one program can use the camera driver (view the cam) at a time.
Since you plan on creating your own software to do face recognition you could then pass commands to PCC or iHouse from it.
You could use IP cams as you can find some cheep IP cams  on ebay for under $50. these are similar to what X10 offers.
However it might be best to take a look at your local PC or liquidation shop and see what they have for old cams.
I found a shop that had several old (but never used) USB Logitech cams for $19 or less a piece.
Also I have used a Sony Play Station USB cam and the quality from it is very good.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 05:27:05 am by Tuicemen »
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Glorfindel

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 10:53:23 am »

Okay so since I am going to have a computer in every room anyway, I figure the one camera per computer at a single time probably isn't horrible. So is there a library built into Visual Basic by default that will be able to access the camera feed? If so, are there any tutorials for it and will it work in XP? I haven't done a whole lot of digging around for facial recognition but I think have found something that will work. My plan is to use emguCV which is a .NET wrapper for the OpenCV Library. I already found a face detection in VB.NET tutorial on their website which I figure I could expand upon, and eventually use for facial recognition as well, although, even facial detection isn't a bad start as I could start using it to turn lights off during the day in unoccupied rooms.

Here's the link: (I had to put spaces in between the dots because it wouldn't let me post)
http://www.emgu.com/wiki/index.php/Face_Detection_in_VB.NET
Tell me if you think it will work.  ;>

I also did a search on amazon for "logitech usb cameras" and found this which looks pretty good and the "Used - Like New" and "Refurbished" prices are well within my price range. :)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RZNI4S
edited by Tuicemen to fix links
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 04:30:55 am by Tuicemen »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 04:38:41 am »

I fixed the links.
The code should work to find the face with the required dlls.
You'll then need to compare it to a data base of images for identification.
As for the Camera I think you can find a better deal on Ebay.
If the idea of biding doesn't appeal to you look at the buy now ones
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Glorfindel22

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 02:30:42 pm »

Quote
The issue now is currently windows can only handled one camera at a time unless you have special drivers.
PCC will handle a video feed as will iHouse the next issue is only one program can use the camera driver (view the cam) at a time.
Since you plan on creating your own software to do face recognition you could then pass commands to PCC or iHouse from it.

Well I recently discovered the Raspberry Pi and I have been thinking this could be a fairly cheap solution to having multiple cameras per room. Basically you could attach a webcam to each raspberry pi and have say two or three in one room. Then I could write a simple program in Java that would pull an image from the webcam every one to two seconds and send it to the Home Automation Server (running PC Companion, iHouse, and any other home automation programs) which would then have a small java program that would receive the images and run facial detection (in the beginning for testing) and recognition (later on) on the images it receives.

Though I have a question is there a way in Java to send a command to PC Companion or iHouse?
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Tuicemen

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Re: Inexpensive High Quality Cameras?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2013, 08:35:53 am »

Both PCC and ihouse accept command line arguments (windows commands)
I'm unfamiliar with java you might be able to interact with ihouse and its server
 
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