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  • Hamster + Worlds Smallest Wi-Fi Camera

    Further to the blog posting over at Lisa & Emma’s Blog, I’d posted about how the girls got a cute little Syrian Hamster, named Nibbler, for Christmas.  I wanted a way to keep an eye on him in his cage that might be fun for the kids too… what to do, what to do .. oh yeah, get geeky and find a small camera for the cage, HamsterCam<tm>

    This is something quite new to the market and it’s come out just at the right time.. enter the SMART-I (World smallest Wi-Fi Camera) by Smart Witness.

    smart-i-wifi-camera

    Here are a couple of pics of the camera fitted to the cage.

    20111219_11062020111219_110630

    The field of view is pretty tight on the camera, which is a bit of weakness as it’s sort of sold as a security type device, it’s only 50 degrees, it really wants to be closer to 90 degree’s I think (or at least adjustable).  But it really is a crack’n little device.

    Setup is crazy easy, plug it in (or put a battery in), switch it on, look for it’s WIFI Access Point SSID and connect to it.  If you want it to join your existing WIFI network so it acts as a WIFI client rather then an access point on it’s own, just switch it to the Setup Setting, connect to it’s SSID and configure it for your network including the WIFI key, switch it off and back on again and you’re done.

    There are a couple other minor annoyances I have with the device but all but one can be fixed with firmware updates.  The one that can’t however is it’s ability to see in low light.  I don’t mean no light, but middle of the afternoon with the curtain drawn and all you get is a black camera.. not really ideal for a “security” type device.

    I’ve not yet tested it’s ability to see with a IR light source.  I’ll test that and if it works I may rig up an IR flood lamp on an PIR sensor so it will trigger the lights when Nibbler moves about the cage.

    It could really doe with a pan and tilt system too haha but that’s asking for too much in something so small.

    Here’s a sample screen shot from the camera (this was taken with the built in recording Java app in the camera)

    20111220_22582220111220_230719

    All in all I’m pretty happy with the camera and I’m sure it’ll come in handy in other places as well, as it’s a it’s own WIIF Access Point it can be used anywhere you want and that you have a USB power source (or a battery).

    I suppose I should list some Pros and Cons for this little camera to make this a bit more complete, not that it’s a proper review (yet).

    Pros

    • The size, this has to be it’s biggest asset for sure.
    • Fully Wi-Fi enabled device, access point and Wi-Fi client to connect to your own network.
    • Feature list I’ll put as a Pro, as it’s short comings can be sorted with future updates
    • Image quality in good light is quite good
    • Allows for a user/password to be set up control access
    • Runs off 5v @ 1A so most USB ports on modern laptops should be able to power the camera
    • (optional) Accessory kit comes with a stand, mains and car power adapters, battery replacement uses standard Mini USB cable

    Cons

    • Image quality in low / no light is unacceptable.
    • Only allows for a single user/password to be set, the user had all or nothing access
    • No way to limit or prevent access to audio other then by the single account, ie: no public access to camera yet blocking audio
    • The camera runs quite hot, I’ll put this as a Con, see below
    • Not water/weather proof at all, strictly indoor use only unless it’s dry outside.
    • Not likely a good idea to put this in a case for external use due to the heat generated
    • Audio quality is pretty poor, but given the size of the device and mic I didn’t expect much here