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Toys

Cool Wireless Video Camera For $75 102

phutureboy writes: "Thought the gadget freaks and toy hackers out there would be interested in this badass video camera for kids. It transmits at 900MHz to a base station which has audio/video RCA outs you can connect to a TV or VCR. I bought one at Wal-Mart for $75, and have been fairly impressed with it so far even though it's sort of cheap and plasticky. Got me to wondering what other applications the Slashdot crowd could come up with for it, or whether anyone knew of other inexpensive video cameras suitable for experimentation." CT:You can get an x10 one too. Video quality kinda sucks tho.
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Cool Wireless Video Camera for $75

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Monica's view [rushlimbaugh.com] of Bill Clinton.
  • I'd like to get one...someone mentioned they are now $35....where besides walmart is cheap?
  • Over at Carnegie-Mellon University, every mid-term, we play a little game called Capture the Flag with Stuff [cmukgb.org] (the URL is http://www.cmukgb.org/activities/ctfws/ in case the linking doesn't work). Essentially, it's your plain old capture the flag, except played in two big-ass buildings, and with magical items and such (potions of lubrication, wands of vengeance, anti-magic wands, light grenades and the like).

    Anyhoo, a few of these cameras set up in strategically important positions would really kick ass. Of course, for the information to be of much use we would likely require walkie-talkies and such, but such things may be easily procured.

    It'd also be great to send one of these things on a remote-controlled car into enemy territory, in an attempt to find their flag and warn of deadly glyphs. As long as it's not captured by the other team, o' course.

    (^o^)
  • Interesting. Now it would be cool if I could do that with my camcorder, or another web cam.
  • Interesting...you wouldn't know where to find those instructions, would you?
  • I agree, but let's have some minimal amount of information. The story in question does not provide useful information about the image quality, sound quality, useful range, etc. I do not know if it is manual focus, fixed focus, or auto-focus. I don't know if I can mount it on a tripod or whether I just have to set it on the dresser when using it. ;)

    While I tend to agree that the average content-per-story ratio does seem to have slipped somewhat lately, it looks (at a glance) like much of the information you mention is here...it's just in the postings from people who have used/seen the camera rather than the "story" itself.

    While one can therefore argue that the Powers That Be® of Slashdot are getting lazy and letting the posters do their work for them, pretty much all of the stories do become reasonably informative, once The Slashdot Community® gets to work posting on them (and filtering out the trolls, etc...)

    Now, if we could get some of the moderators to not be quite so quick with the "troll" lables (the proportion of what, to me, seem like unreasonable "troll" or "flamebait" or "offtopic" ratings on relevant postings seems a bit high lately...so expect to see this post marked "offtopic" or something any minute now...) we'd be doing pretty good....
    A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for Evil.

  • how far does this thing go?

    http://users.757.org:8080/
  • I'm too cheap to pay for good quality home automation, so I have nickel and dimed X10 to provide some level of control.

    I recently bought a video camera from them. (A hard wired one, not the wireless kind.)

    The ads on the site apprear to target people who want to spy on their neighbors. I bought the black and while "night watch" camera so that my wife and I could see our newborn in the nursery. The funny thing is that it takes a substantial amount of light to see the baby - so much light that it would be difficult for the kiddo to sleep!

    That camera is rated to be "5 times more sensitive" than their color cameras.

    The joke is that based on my experience trying to watch my son, if some pervert wanted to spy on his neighbor the 'target' would need to have every light on full brightness in order for the camera to work.

    Warts and all, I think that X10 is a good deal - particularly if you get on their mailing list and use the vouchers that they mail out.

    We're going to install the b&w camera on our porch so we can see it from our basement.

    YMMV
  • I put one of those BSR x10 video cameras on a remote control car and followed my cats around my apartment with it. The video reception was quite good once I unplugged the base unit of my Seimens 2GHz cordles phone. Just having the telephone base unit plugged in created a lot of video interference, even with the phone just sitting in the base unit. After that problem was fixed, the remaining problems were that the camera needs a lot of light and its battery pack weighed a lot in comparison to the car.

    However, the video camera itself is pretty light. The car's batteries generate 4.5V while the video cameras batteries generate 6V, so I did not try powering the video camera from the car's batteries. It would make a cool holiday present for next year if some company would actually mass produce a remote control car or boat with one of these broadcast cameras built in. Imagine doing computer vision and computer control of a fleet of these.

  • It has POTENTAL <sp> for hacking. Thats the point... its neat... thats all... If you don't like it, don't read the full story. Get over it. I liked it... I wanted to know about it. If you don't like it, well tuff....

    Its the way slashdot has always been. If the guys (CmdrTaco and friends) like it, it gets posted. The only reason the quality has gone down is because they've done stories on most of the cool stuff already. Someone doesn't hack some new hardware every day.

    -Tripp

  • The LUX sux!

    However I was able to get a nice sensitive B&W camera cheap off of E-Bay and hook up the X10 transmitter to it :-) I then discovered that my B&W camera is IRDA sensitive so one of these days I'm going to get off my butt and build an LED IRDA lightsource for it or possibly a filter for a regular lightsource - just for fun. It's still fairly bulky so trying to hide it might be tough but it "sees" through smoked plastic easily so it could be disguised I guess(shrug).

    For now it just sits on my shelf waiting for my time to tinker. All in all it wasn't an expensive purchase and was fun to learn with...
  • Try a kite! I woldn't be moving as fast and you'd get some awesome pics of the ground below...
  • FWIW, I hung a Color Quickcam2 off a 200mm slr lens. several companies make eyepiece adapters for lenses, sell for about $25 used. Pretty neat, but I didn't have anything to point it at.
  • Very cool, but you have to have an amateur radio license. That stinks.


  • The 434MHz version that transmits on cable Ch. 59 sounds great, but as the website says, you would need a ham radio license to operate it. Even if you had one, to stay legal you would have to include your call sign in the picture at least once every ten minutes and before you stop transmitting. Not terribly useful.
  • http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN2/B00004S88O /qid=978024868/sr=1-3/107-5372714-6054961

    Action figure movie studio [amazon.com]

    only $79!
  • I'll bet that it would be simple to modify these type cameras (wired would be better) for use in a telescope. Although the quality would be poor compared to a ccd or video camera designed for astronomy (SBIG, etc) it would be good for a beginner. I'm thinking of modifying my really cheap webcam for this use. All one would need to do is remove the assorted lenses and filters and mount it in the center of a 1.25" barrel. Just my $0.02
  • I agree /. has got to keep standards up and go for more content - and the first person to post the content gets $100 (or a free cam, depending on how you look at it)!!! The link offers $100 to a reviewer of this $79 toy....
  • He's incestuous and can't spell daughter? More likely it was dog.
  • But those aren't wireless. This is. It's the wireless part that is interesting. These aren't even digital output (they do digital transmission to a DAC) so they aren't comparable to webcams.
  • Did you try turning the brightness up on your TV? Seriously, many people do not have their TV properly adjusted.
  • No, that's UV, not IR
  • I found some here [club-internet.fr]. An interestign thing is that I was wrong. It isn't a chip but a literal filter over the lens. You just have to remove that. Wen my friend said he opened it and removed the IR filter for some reason I thought it was a digital filter, but apparently it's an optical filter. Another page said that the USB version doesn't have the IR filter.
  • I totally agree..

    Fight the power at Slashduh [slashduh.org]


    --

  • Yes---but if you used it in the nursery, the next morning your child would have either a great tan, or one heck of a sunburn.
  • Does anybody remember the Fisher Price video camera that recorded onto standard audio cassettes? The quality was b/w, grainy and there was no sound, but what a fun toy!
  • I'm waiting for the day when I can fly a radio controlled airplane with stereo (wireless) cameras transmitting to a VR headset I'm wearing -- an amateur RPV (remotely piloted vehicle). This is heading in that direction, but doesn't sound good enough yet.

    Does anyone know of cameras that could do this for a reasonable price?

  • I tried everything.
  • These 2.4Ghz things are available all over - X10, etc. at various prices. The sensitivity isn't very good (they work best looking outdoors or at brightly-lit rooms), and the transmitters tend to spew a lot of noise all over that part of the spectrum. But I still use them for security in places where it would be a pain to run hardwire. The best prices I've seen on tiny cameras (both wired and wireless) is at http://www.supercircuits.com/ . Tiny B&W cameras for $40 - which I'm trying to hook in a Mindstorms robot for autonomous navigation. And some small color ones for under $100.
  • You wouldn't believe what they are capable of putting cameras into (Clocks, Teddy Bears, Vases, etc.)

    One word: sigmoidscopy.

  • Holy cow! That camera is down to $35 now. Thanks for the link, I got me some SHOPPIN' to do!

  • I ordered 3x of the Firecracker kits, using friends & family to help. It was a great deal, and I am still using the gear today.

    X-10 has some pretty crummy service, though. I ordered something else from them later on, and I got it -- along with someone ELSE'S "DVD Anywhere" wireless A/V gear.

    These days, I prefer to use Smarthome for X-10 stuff, though I am always tempted by the cameras they plug at x10.com.
  • That would rock
  • When i built my remote Helicopter, i had to always fly in view, i used 3 tiny "pinhole" cameras and 3 small CB unit (ham licence req and obtined) they were IR as well (for night flying). It had a range of 300' with resonable quality, i had them outputting to a couple of those handheld tv's borrowed from various mates, to bad it was so damned loud, else i could have spyed on the *very* nice swedish woman who has a third floor flat :)
  • With a bunch of 2n2222 transistors and a handful of resitors I am sure that I could get a few miles out of it. Kick the output up to say 10 watts.
  • What if we combine the CueCat with this camera?

    hmmm....

    E.
  • It will not transmit when put in the freezer with the door closed.

    LOL! What was the application you had in mind here?!
    "Aha! I knew it! Those bastard chicken nuggets laugh at me when I'm not there."
  • ...is in Natalie Portmans room!!!
  • I have an X10 camera and a 2.4 GHz Siemens spread-spectrum phone. The phone makes the video from my X10 2.4 GHz camera unusable. I imagine that 802.11B would do the same.

    Also, I agree that the X10 range is limited. It doesn't get 50 feet in my house, probably because the refrigerator is located at the core of the house and blocks everything.
  • Well lets see? I think someone mentioned porn cams. (Admit it. you all thought it.)

    But how about
    Cam in the ladies shower.
    Cam to watch the kid.
    Cam in the Ladies Bathroom.
    Cam for secret agent.
    Cam in the Victoria Secret store changing room.
    Cam for the tech freak who has to have everything.
    Other then that I don't know what to use it for.
  • I'd Advise against it. who would want to see a ugly goth chick? (though I know a lot of hot ones so don't flame me) And besides it is obvious they must like exhibitionism so then when they know that you see them, they would be doing a lot worst stuff, (trust me there is a lot of weird stuff they will do.. I shiver typing it.)
  • When did the Reply page go from being "intresting side stories" to "bitchy complaints?" (Answer... One week after they started :) ) But let the people talk about the new cool toys and some fun stuff. 99 percent of the stuff here is real let a few intresting toys be discussed to. I personally don't click on EVERY story so why should you? If you don't like something don't read it. (This goes out to anyone who ever gets offended or pissed off about something on anything including the radio, the TV, the movies, the Paper, or a Web Site)
  • Yeah but it is more fun to do it yourself. don't you think? hybrids are always cooler too.
  • I understand why this is but I find it funny. it records on audio tapes but no sound :) just makes me :) you know?
  • I've done it. It will never work for astronomy, as there simply isn't enough light unless you're looking at the moon or sun (through a filter, of course). You could of course use it for bird/girl watching or the like in broad daylight.
  • Can someone find some spec's on this toy?
    Maybe figure out some alternitive uses for it?

    I don't expect the quality to be good enough for snapshots or stuff like that but the wireless aspect of it causes me to think that this could be a really fine geek toy!

    Like most wireless things, I am sure that it will have many weaknesses and drawbacks but for those uses that can compensate for them, wireless is a God-send.

    Anyone take one apart yet? I'm wondering what else could be added to the signal.

    Far more potential than a Furby.
  • I think you are wrong - I consider this to be actually NEAT! I can imagine quite a few uses for it and I'm glad that it was posted here otherwise I wouldn't have thought it would have existed.

    Sure I've seen kiddie cameras...but one so cheap and for kids gives me a good idea on how to let kids go into some sort of cool production... laugh if you wish... but somewhat [even if the reso. is sorta just above BS :)] it helps let kids experiment - and with the right parent [no intended insult here] they would show them how to produce them on the puter... so sorry my friend you fail to see the point of this posting - full stop... if you were a nerd... i think you would have thought twice before you opened that... thought :)... "words are words, even if you know how to use them... it's the head that it comes out from that matters" [can't seem to remember the dude who said this].
  • I just ordered the X10 2.4GHz cam and battery pack, I've got a radio controlled car fashioned after a Chevy Caprice Police Package, and it can transmit voice from the remote to the car, outputting it from a speaker, so I can do bidirectional voice and I can see voice... I'm planning to use it at work instead of having to walk around the cubicle farm...

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • so what? I got a camera, refrigerator, my den lamps, and a blender hooked up on My X-10 [hometech.com] at home! They have a camera, psshhh!
  • Developments such as these could bring surveilance technologies to the masses! Why should Big Brother have a monopoly on surveilance technologies? Isn't it better that everyone should have the ability to spy on everyone else? This would keep the governement in check and give freedoms to the individual. The right to bear a minature spy camera should be enshrined in every nations constitution. And when all these cameras are wired up to the peoples internet, the governement will no longer need to maintain a costly secret service and spying industry - we can do it ourselves, in accordance with the open source model. Just like America doesn't need a police force because everyone has guns, and Britain doesn't need a Vice Squad because...emm, er, I don't know.

    Truly, the best way to maintain our freedoms is to be vigilant. So on this front, we can see that the Japansese, in the form of Canon and Nikon, are the guardians of our rights.

    KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.

  • >obligitory "we're all impressed with how much >money you spent on a digital camera and the fact And there I thought that giving a little personal 'cooboration' to a statement of fact was good prosaic form. 0_o;

    Sadly, it appears that /. is indeed filled with young geeks with nothing better to do than troll. Okay, I'll bite.
  • there's the power of open-source.
  • The quote you use in your sig is from Albert Einstein. Please give him credit
    -
  • If you don't like something don't read it.

    How do I know if I will like it if I *don't* read it? That's like saying "if you don't like a new food, don't try it."

    I like the concept of a wireless video camera, but if I read a story on /. about one, I want to know more about the device than who sells it and at what price.

    But let the people talk about the new cool toys and some fun stuff.

    I agree, but let's have some minimal amount of information. The story in question does not provide useful information about the image quality, sound quality, useful range, etc. I do not know if it is manual focus, fixed focus, or auto-focus. I don't know if I can mount it on a tripod or whether I just have to set it on the dresser when using it. ;)

    I don't mean to berate the author. I just believe that the people-in-charge have to set a somewhat higher standard for content than this article met.

  • And have it turn off because it's out of batteries? You might as well buy a cheap webcam, get some free motion detecting software, and have that do the job for you. This one [logitech.com] comes with software that supports motion detecting, among others.
  • I use an x-10 quite frequently (most fun out of all my cams), and it doesn't seem to pick up any interference.
  • It's our housemate's kitchen, and the neighbor's bedroom. Methinks the neighbor should buy the curtains, instead of my housemate having to drink his coffee in the dark every morning. Of course, if he gouges his eyes out, the point will be moot.
  • I'll tell you what I can do with it: My lame neighbors in the rental house next door are too cheap to buy curtains, so we're treated to glaring light every night through my bedroom window, and our housemate upstairs is treated every morning to the twiggy, pasty not-very-attractive goth chick bouncing up and down on her pudgy, pasty, loser boyfriend in their bedroom in full view of his kitchen. Not something he really wants to accompany his coffee every day.

    I figure one of these recording the view from *inside* my house (to maintain some semblance of legality) would be a nice deterrent. The window's not near a computer, so this wireless camera would be quite convenient. If they got off on the exposure... oy.

  • I'm setting up a B&W cam (from Marlin P Jones & Associates [mpja.com]) for the same purpose (baby cam). The nice thing is that CCD cameras are very infra-red sensitive unless they incorporate an IR filter. (You can test yours by observing how well it "sees" an IR remote's beam.) I've wired up two banks of IR LEDs as a light source (20 50-cent LED's in series/parallel). Baby can sleep in complete darkness while Big Brother (well, Big Mother and Big Father) watch.

    Good cameras (from MPJA, SuperCircuits [supercircuits.com], and others) are cheap enough that there really is no reason to fool with toys like the camera mentioned in the base article. The X10 stuff is as cheap and is at least barely usable (with good lighting and short distances). But if you're half-way handy with electronics, you can do a lot better assembling a system yourself for just a bit more money.

    -Ed
  • Ok, I bought one from X10.com 6 months ago. It has to be line of sight (through walls work but when people walk between the reciever and transmitter you get interference) In my office (open space with only false walls & a cube garden) we can get about 200 feet before it get's really touchy on what is inbetween the antennas. (a paper book causes loss of signal at 200 feet) and the antennas must be pointing at each other (I.E. the flat side toward the other...) from inside to outside is a no-go through steel and concrete. they really are toys and not for any serious use and the camera and optics are poor quality but useful for watching your children/front door/other simple uses that dont require quality or a clear picture.

    Me? I'd buy a better setup. Like I have in my remote controlled boat.. 3000feet on ham bands.
  • But you seem to be missing the whole point of /.

    How much information do you expect them to be able to give you in the little blurbs that they use for news articles? Sure, it might've been nice to see an extended review, but that's not the main purpose of this place.

    The beauty of /. is that they put up the blurb, and then all us proles fill in the details. I haven't finished reading the comments for this one, but I'm willing to bet that somebody out there has been able to find some hard numbers.

    No offense to them, but the /. guys aren't real journalists. This isn't a real news site. If you want lots of details in the article, go someplace else. All they do is give is a little tiny pebble, and we glom onto it and build up a pearl.
  • Actually, the X10.com [x10.com] camera with motion detector would work better for that use.

    The Trendmasters [trendmasters.com] unit is a simple battery-powered camera. It will find other low-resolution uses (I saw the TV ads, and the video looked like toy quality). I also notice that the link in the article has a picture with a flap open on the far side -- that is not an LCD monitor, as that is not mentioned in the Trendmasters description.

  • I have always wanted one of those things, but when I finally became an adult with a job and money, they become non-existant (or VERY pricey on Ebay).

    My only consolation was to buy the cheapest camcorder I could find - it was GE 8mm camcorder, very, VERY basic (ie, manual zoom, seperate lensed viewfinder, no titling, no preview, no nothing). Price? $250.00 US - that was five years ago, and I haven't seen anything come close to it since (though there are some nice $300 rigs - I just don't use a video camera often enough to justify any of it).

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • I know for sure people rigged up quickcams on their Lego creations long before Lego decided to put its cam on the market. I know of one guy who made camera crane rigs from Lego this way, controllable via a web gateway (ie, a controlable Lego webcam).

    Lego released their camera (as a Mindstorms add-on, and also as some kind of interactive movie making set) - unfortunately it is still tethered to the PC via a cable - it isn't wireless, thus limiting its true potential for experimentation.

    This kid's camera isn't much cheaper than the X-10 thing. Plus, I wish that instead of using a 9-volt, they would use 6 AA batteries (for longer "on" time).

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • Is probably the 900 MHz transmitter antenna - look at the x-10 wireless camera, notice the similarity?

    My first thought was that this camera was nothing more than a repackaged x-10 system (that, or the makers of the x-10 camera also sold the system to the makers of the toy cam)...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • There's been several articles about the raciness of the ads in the X-10 cams. In fact, one guy sent me pics of all the ads. They featured rather scantily clad women in interesting posts. Nothing too risque, your typial Benny Hill stuff.

    The guy in charge of X-10 had nothing to hide in an interview. He said it was effective, and it worked.
  • Check out this [smarthome.com] camera from SmartHome.Com [smarthome.com]. It runs on a 9-volt battery and can transmit to a 900 MHz base or to channel 59 UHF. It has a 200' range. Kinda expensive, but very cool.
  • Coolest thing I ever saw was the individual images from an MRI done of my brain...

    I was sitting there watching them iterate through the images, and i had to yell "Is that my medula?"

    The coolest thing I learned from EEGs is that you could attach all of the electrodes to your head and use them to power a calculator. Very cool stuff.
  • This camera could make a fine inexpensive remote monitor camera. You could place it up in the attic of other furtive location and have it watch the front or back of your house. When you have a break in or other intrusion you will have at least a minimal record of who could be a suspect.
  • So get a license. It's ridiculously easy. You just have to take a 35 question test, and all the questions and answers are posted ahead of time!

    With an ATV transmitter, you can transmit video over a couple of miles, instead of the paltry 200' these consumer-market cameras allow.

    -Vercingetorix

  • You said:

    One word: sigmoidscopy

    Man I wish I could have seen the inside of my son when they did this to him. The camera they used to do this was ULTRA cool. The only neater thing was an EEG he had done. That was actually using a PC for recording the brain waves. And, it ran DOS! (I about fell over when I saw that).

  • makes a pretty cool [www.aiptek.comaiptek]Pencam [aiptek.com], which although doesn't do soundon it's video, is neato for feeling like a spy when you're a kid, or for getting those special moments alone with your do^H^H^H^Hwife on film when you are an adult. It is under a hundred bucks USD.
  • This reminds me of the old B&W quickcams when they were still made by Connectix. Apparently they have a chip inside them to do IR filtering, because the sensors would sample IR as well. A friend of mine used some instructions on the web to bypass the chip (he said it was fairly easy), and purchased an IR floodlight. Viola, instant nightime camera using a floodlight that wouldn't bother a human.
  • I agree that this is a crappy price point for a crappy toy. You can actually get a decent (not great, but decent) real digital camera for $299 (an HP model with a 2.1 megapixel res), or a real S-VHS-C or Hi8 video camera for around $400-$500 when Best Buy has a sale. S-VHS and Hi-8 actually have comparable quality to digital camcorders, the downside of course being that, since they're analog, there will be some minor quality loss once you digitize them with a PC video capture device. In fact, most news cameras in use today at smaller stations are S-VHS, though it's the full-size S-VHS and not the small S-VHS-C. Now, this is several times the $79 for this unit, but it's worth saving for. You get 2.1 million pixels resolution in the digital still camera, or 520 lines of video resolution with a Hi8 or S-VHS-C video camera.

    If you're really on a tight budget and want such a gadget, get a real webcam from Logitech or Intel or Creative or such, and if you want to be able to use it away from the PC get something like the Creative webcam which can be untethered and used as a low-res digital camera, for about $129. Heck, HP offers a 1.3 megapixel digital camera for just $199. The only good use I can see for devices like this are for a low-res home surveillance security system, where higher priced components wouldn't be worth the extra cost.

  • I got it as a Christmas gift many moons ago. I was disappointed tho, because I wanted a nice still camera. But I remember having fun with the PXL-2000 once I started using it. I thought it was sooo cool that it used audio cassettes to record the video stream, and it was so compact. Eventually I took it apart and hid the internals in my sister's room, because she had a really hot friend I wanted to see a little more of, who'd come over and change after cheerleading practice. Lucky for my perverted little 12 year old ass, I never got caught with it. But, the PKL-2000 is still upstairs in a closet, its internals and casing never reassembled, tucked away in a plastic bag. If there's really a market on eBay for these things, I'll probably get to work on assembling it and, if it works, selling it...

  • I bought the X10 camera awhile ago and returned it. The picture is actually decent but if there's anything but full sunlight, you can forget it. I wasn't expecting it to work in the dark but I felt it was a bit ridiculous. I was experimenting with it and put it in my kids room and even with the light on it was too dark.
  • Plus, I wish that instead of using a 9-volt, they would use 6 AA batteries...

    A few years ago I worked on a cheap robot made from a $5-$15 RC truck, an early greyscale CCD "pinhole" camera, and a Gemini Rabbit video transmitter (plus a SparcStation with a framegrabber to drive it).

    The video transmitter expected 18 volts, so we tried pairs of 9 volt batteries (single-use and nicad). We could get about 5 minutes of transmission time with them. AA nicads gave us maybe half an hour of run-time (but weighed a ton).

    9-volt batteries shouldn't be used for anything as power hungry as a transmitter.

  • I think almost everyone is missing the point of this product. It's not targeted at the Lego-bot, home security, or bathroom-cam crowds. It's targeted at all those households with VCRs that don't want to pay $300+ for a video camera. Now for just $80 they can tape their kid's first steps or a Christmas message for Grandma.

    I've wondered why nobody built something like this. It sure doesn't have to be wireless. Stick a cheap CCD camera and mono microphone on the end of a 50' cable and sell it for $50.

  • The range is only 50 feet... so you won't get far w/o the signal fading. Also, the signal is probably analog 900MHz, not using any digital encoding (that would cost more). So you'll be more susceptible to interference from cordless phones and other 900MHz band devices.

    However, I bet there's an easy way to boost the transmitter output and probably violate several FCC rules in the process.

    Cryptnotic

  • I got the 3-pack of X10 wireless cams a couple of months back. The cameras are satisfactory (see other posts in this story for specifcs), but it took 3 visits to their website and about a dozen emails to a real person to get them to stop spamming me. Caveat emptor...
    Sean
  • you could also seat it inside a "birdhouse" outside someplace, and watch things that are somewhat removed from the main base. Of course, there is always your back door, or other remote locations.

    Although I note the the xcam2 costs about the same, and has twice the range. It would be interesting to actually compare the performance. I noticed that one of the other comments says that the reception is garbage with the kiddie video toy. While this is partly due to the receiver(?), this is not promising.

    It has got me thinking though.

  • A few years ago I had the idea of wiring a dog with a few of these things and running the resultant video onto the web. At the time, I lacked two things: a dog, and a cheap source of video transmission. As I now own a basset hound, both problems have apparently been solved.

    One of the things I was trying to accomplish with this get-up was to take two cameras and mount them in doggie-eye-configuration, and them transmit two signals back to the computer, so the images could be massaged into one picture that would more correctly represent what the dog viewed. Has anyone tried two of these camera/transmitters near each other or otherwise tested for interference?

  • Man, if they can make fancy wireless toys like this, why can't they bring back the PXL-2000. It would probabally cost the same and be a LOT neater.
  • ... and drive it into places that it otherwise wouldn't be able to get to! just think of the possibilities!

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • you can't afford not to buy one. Think of the possible revenue generated by the video sales alone.

    The possibilities are endless.

  • I got a cool application, It worked too.

    Sometime last year there was this neighbor who insisted on leaving his junked cars parked in front of my house. Not just for a week but for allmost a full year!!! So naturally I got sick of it. I'd call the cops to come out and take care of it, they'd put a sticker on the car to move within 72 hours. They'd move the car for like a week, then park it right back in front of my house. Unfortunately there was a loophole here and unless I could prove that these jerks were being malicious about their parking habits I'd never be able to park in front of my house again.
    The cops at this point were getting pretty sick of coming out to my house too.
    So I went out and got a little X-10 cam, vid capture card and set it up on my windowsil. I set it to capture 1200 frames every 24 hours and let it sit there for about a month before I called the cops out again.
    This time I had the cops bring the neighbor over to the house. He was one of those greasy inbred white trash types. He started yellin at me saying I was a lier blah blah blah right in front of the cops saying he moves those cars everyday. I opened up the AVI file of the time lapse, man I wish I could have gotten the look on his face when I started to play it. Sun goes up, car still there, sun goes down, car still there, moon comes up, car still there, moon goes down, car still there. The cops started muscling the guy saying they could charge him with falsifying information on a police report and they'd let him go if he promised to never park in front of my house again. Never had a problem since.

    --toq
  • Before you all go out to WalMart to buy your cool new toy, I think you should remember the following story: [theroc.org]

    Basically, WalMart has huge market share, especially in music sales. They have so much, in fact, that they routinely force recording artists to alter lyrics or cover art in order to get the CD sold in Wal-Mart stores. While it is their right to choose what is sold and what is not, it runs counter to the entire notion of free speech when a CD is buried because its lyrics offend some Christian Wrong preachers with market power. So if you can, try to get your cool new cam somewhere else. And check around for better Wal-Mart stories; the link I included is probably far from the best, and their list of transgressions goes on and on.

    And remember, shop smart... shop S-Mart!

  • ...when you consider that most 'consumer' webcams range between $60 and $140 [cdw.com]. My brother recently bought a nice Intel USB camera for $90.

    If you don't want to shell out money for a nice digital camera (My sony cybershot cost $999), there are better alternatives than buying a toy.
  • ...I'd put these in a product! I am an RC nutzoid, and I rubberbanded this on an electric car, and drove around the house while sitting in the living room watching my TV!!! It was great fun. First, powerslides and watching the suspension work were very cool. Then I set up some old TMNT figures (Don and Splinter to be specific) and ran them over, drove under and around furniture, all that. At one point I got interference on my car's radio but the video was still coming through and I helplessly watched it crash itself until the batteries fell out of the camera's pack and the screen went to snow. Classic.

    I'm DYING to put this in a plane or heli, but the range is garbage. It was nice to discover that even though the antenna is a dish-looking thing, it doesn't act very directional. Works great at nearly all orientations. I'm a software guy; wish I knew how to amplify the signal. If anyone can boost the range on this puppy, let's hear how!!!!

    Anyways, a big stinky poo on you to all readers who think this is a non /. posting. You are a killjoy. Go read manpages.
  • by juuri ( 7678 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @06:59AM (#539391) Homepage
    Prolly get modded down for this, but who cares?

    Slashdot has taken a dramatic downturn since it was "purchased". Having seen how this works from the inside I understand how it can happen. When a website is acquired there is a certain amount of traffic it is expected to drive to meet AD revenues (if thats the only source it has). This in itself is fair... the site was purchased to at the very least pay for itself and increase the mindshare of whoever owns it.

    The problem is... the purchaser usually throws in weird conditions. Some slashdot conditions may have been, "a certain number of front page stories a day", "this many comments a week", or "this many less technical stories". I'm not saying this is the case here, but given some of the things we've seen over the past year its certainly plausible.

    Then again its prolly just popularity, Slashdot is for all intents and purposes a BBS and just like any of the old dialup BBS's once they get to popular they lose their spark.
  • by lpontiac ( 173839 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @06:42AM (#539392)
    To actually comment on this camera... sample stills, or even better an actual video sample from this thing, would be kinda cool.

    So, anyone got some?

  • by ShadyG ( 197269 ) <bgraymusic.gmail@com> on Thursday December 28, 2000 @05:12AM (#539393) Homepage
    So how does it act around 900MHz phones? I know my 802.11b network occasionally has glitches when I use other 2.4GHz devices in its vicinity.

    -- ShadyG

  • by B00yah ( 213676 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @06:42AM (#539394) Homepage
    Is actually a waste of plastic, IMHO. I had to help hook one of these up for a friends kid, and the reception was terrible, the picture was barely recognizable, and the camera felt like it was made of the same sheap plastic they use for ball pits...:P
  • by negspace ( 255342 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @09:31AM (#539395)
    As a massive videophile, I picked this little sucker up as soon as I saw it. The lowdown is this:

    Picture quality blows....but what do you expect, it's $75.

    There is a fixed lens which they say you can focus by taking off the front casing, though i haven't had any luck with their method.

    The transmission is ok. I live in a house with a basement, the camera would work fine on the same floor as the receiver, though transmitting between floors is no good. It will go thorough walls with some interference. It will not transmit when put in the freezer with the door closed.

    I do all kinds of video stuff, one of which is live mixing/projections at raves. I was really hoping the camera would work there as a wireless livecam, but the damned thing wouldn't transmit at all. I guess with all the interference of electronics the signal just couldn't be processed well. All I got was an indistinguishable b&w image.

    As far as the neato factor goes, the cam is pretty good. If you are using it at home and don't mind the occasional hiccups in transmission and poor picture quality, then it's not a bad buy.

    It is only $75, and it is a camera, though I was hoping for something like the old Fisher Price Pixelvision PXL2000 [jm3.net], it is no where near as cool.

    --negspace

    "can't depend on honest answers from dependent hands. won't accept an honest answer from an open hand." --jimmy eat world
  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @06:21AM (#539396) Homepage Journal
    Looks like the annoying, flashing ad in the left column of the space elevator [space.com] story did its job.

    I guess that's why simple, subtle ads have more or less been replaced by in-your-face ones.

    On that note, check out the link in my sig. :)

    --

  • Rubber band this to a lego robot and build a web interface to drive it around the house and you've got a fun little toy to play with at work. Plug the video outputs to your video capture card. M@
  • by DaneelGiskard ( 222145 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @07:02AM (#539398) Homepage
    I did some research for a robot project some time ago, here are some cheap, small, light cams:

    http://www.quasarelectronics.com/cmos_cameras.htm [quasarelectronics.com]
    http://www.mars-cam.com/frame/optical.html [mars-cam.com]
    http://www.supercircuits.com/ [supercircuits.com]

    cheers
    mike
  • by CBoy ( 129544 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @05:13AM (#539399) Homepage
    The number of "hidden" porn cams increase on the 'net once the general slashdot readership gets ahold of this ? :)
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Thursday December 28, 2000 @06:52AM (#539400) Homepage Journal
    "I bought a kid's camera at Walmart and it's neat..." is not a Slashdot story. I don't see any specs about resolution, lens information (fixed focus, auto focus, f-stop, etc.), or any other "stuff that matters" when it comes to "news for nerds." There's no hacking information (e.g., putting the guts into an old SLR body, enabling a hidden USB feature on the PCB, etc.). There is no really cool feature like the ability to pump digital data at high-speeds over the RF link. It doesn't have an IP address and talk to a wireless home network.

    Before you say "it's just a camera for kids", ask yourself this: Do we really want to see content-free postings about every toy that someone thinks is neat? When did /. go from being "News for Nerds" to "Ads for Walmart"?

Every young man should have a hobby: learning how to handle money is the best one. -- Jack Hurley

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