June 9, 2023

Getty/Carol Yepes

Not too long ago, certainly one of my cats had a little bit of an incident and wound up having to put on a collar round his neck to forestall him from irritating a nasty wound. We had been instructed to observe him in case the collar got here off. Given I work at home, I had no downside with that, however there have been occasions when my face needed to be buried in a display screen, so I could not at all times control the little man.

Additionally: One of the best low-cost webcams proper now

As they are saying, necessity is the mom of invention. To have the ability to preserve watch over him, and nonetheless meet deadlines, I made a decision to utilize one of many many Android telephones I had mendacity round — and with the assistance of a simple-to-use software known as DroidCam. This app makes it remarkably simple to create a webcam that can be utilized for a lot of functions (safety, monitoring, and so on.). Let me present you ways that is accomplished.

use an previous Android cellphone as a safety or pet digital camera

What you will want: An Android cellphone (operating model 5.0 and up), an influence twine for the cellphone (you don’t need your battery to expire), the DroidCam app, and an internet browser on the identical community because the cellphone.

Open the Play Retailer in your Android gadget.

Seek for Droidcam and, as soon as you’ve got discovered it, faucet Set up.

The Droidcam listing in the Google Play Store.

Droidcam is free to put in and use.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Ensure that your Android gadget is on the identical wi-fi community because the desktop or laptop computer you will use to view the digital camera and begin the applying. As soon as it begins, it would current you with the deal with you employ to attach out of your browser.

The DroidCam app interface.

The DroidCam interface is a bit old-school however works like a appeal.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The output on the display screen shows the IP deal with and the port it is advisable use to entry the digital camera. In the event you level an internet browser to http://SERVER:4747/video (The place SERVER is the IP deal with displayed by DroidCam), you will see the video output from the digital camera.

DroidCam keeping watch over a cat.

My cat is being watched and he would not even understand it.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The free model of the app solely provides 240p or 480p resolutions. To get 720p and 1080p resolutions you could buy the professional model of the app (DroidCamX $5.49 on the Google Play Retailer), which provides sound, HD mode, and SmoothFPS for extra steady video. Nonetheless, for very fundamental safety/child/cat cam utilization, the free model does simply high-quality.

Additionally: This is what to do along with your previous smartphone if you get a brand new one

Keep in mind to plug that cellphone into an outlet, as streaming video can eat away on the battery. The excellent news on that entrance is that the app will proceed streaming, even after your cellphone is locked and asleep. 

That is the gist of utilizing DroidCam as an internet/safety cam. I’ve used this setup for a couple of functions, the place I wanted extra eyes than evolution gave me.

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