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Show HN: HTML5 webcam pics to email with motion detection (pixeltwenty.com)
67 points by pixeltwenty 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments



Somewhat unrelated, but on the topic of detecting motion, I have a Nest Outdoor camera and subscribe to Nest's "Nest Aware" service for $10 a month, which enables me to save a week's worth of video and also is supposed to give me "intelligent" alerts when motion is detected, and is supposed to use "advanced cloud algorithms" to let me know when important things are happening and whether or not I should be notified.

I'm honestly really disappointed in it because 99% of the alerts I get from this camera are false alarms. The most frequent offender is light from passing vehicles. It is worse when it has rained and the reflection of headlights can be seen in the "zone" I have set up to send me alerts. You would think Google would be able to drop false alarms down to nothing for the common things like everyday street traffic, but apparently not.

They also have a weird rule where you can only get 1 notification within a 30 minute window. So if I take my garbage outside and the camera sees me, it will send an alert. If an axe murderer comes onto the property 20 minutes after that, the camera won't alert me.


I've never been more disappointed in a product than the Nest Cam. Nest's lack of panning and zooming, and a subscription service PER camera? False alarms so frequent that i ignore them now, which defeats the purpose? I don't know if it was marketed as a security device or i just assumed it would be, but its far from a good security device in my case.

I used to have 3 Foscam's (now rebranded to Amcrest) recording to a local central server, backing up to an offsite location, and tried with some success to get imageMagick to weed out any duplicate false alarms. Thought the NestCam would be make things more friction-less, but its worse. (I lost the old setup but am probably going back to the new ones soon).

OP: to get around your notification rule, you can try IFTTT. I've had various levels of success: it always seems to work fine for a week, and then something changes (android update? ifttt update? nest app update?) and it breaks until i notice it again.


Thanks for the IFTTT recommendation, I'll have a look. This is my first camera. My first instinct was to go with something like a Foscam/Amcrest on a more "DIY" route but the thought of having something plug-and-play was nice too, especially with Nest playing up their "we use A.I. and algorithms to make this all work perfectly" angle, which I feel misled by.


> They also have a weird rule where you can only get 1 notification within a 30 minute window. So if I take my garbage outside and the camera sees me, it will send an alert. If an axe murderer comes onto the property 20 minutes after that, the camera won't alert me.

So a burglar can shine a laser pointer into the lens from a far distance and disable the camera from recording them? Wow.

My parents have a Ring with motion alerts and it's constantly getting set off by reflections, moths, birds, etc. This is a device that also has a supposed "Smart Alert algorithm", but it seems little better than basic statistical detection.


It sounds like it doesn't disable the recording, but disables the alert. Which can still be abused, but isn't as bad as what you describe.


A strong enough laser might even be able to destroy the image sensor. I remember reading about concert cameras being ruined by the lasers that were part of the show.


Sure, but I don't think that's what they were talking about. A BB gun or a paintball gun or a can of spraypaint on a stick can also disable a camera.


Oh yeah, I know. I was just theorizing about another way to defeat the camera.

On the subject of the ring doorbell, we have one, and the most annoying part is that after 30 seconds of recording, it stops until another motion event triggers it. I have several recordings of people knocking at my door, but the recording cuts off before they leave.


> I'm honestly really disappointed in it because 99% of the alerts I get from this camera are false alarms. The most frequent offender is light from passing vehicles.

Yup. Have this exact same problem. Non-stop alerts saying "Nest thinks it spotted a person" then it shows me a clip of a car driving by (I've defined zone/regions to exclude the roadway view but that feature does not work either).

The app also forgets I'm subscribed every single month (even though I'm on auto-renew) and I have to uninstall, wipe cache, reinstall app to get things working again. Without the "active" subscription, the app doesn't provide any notifications.

While I absolutely love the camera/history, the app experience is utter shit. I've tried contacting support and (surprise surprise, Google) it's useless and non-existent.


> I've defined zone/regions to exclude the roadway view but that feature does not work either

Yes! I experience this as well. It alerts me for things happening outside of my 1 defined zone, and frequently doesn't alert me when someone walks inside my defined zone.


I got a set of Reolink Argus cameras during their kickstarter project, and have been pleasantly surprised at how well their 'intelligent' alerts work. One of their cameras is mounted where we have some screen blinds flapping in the wind and also where our cats tend to traverse a lot, and in the 6 months or so that we've had these cameras, never a false alarm trigger for those, and it picks up people moving through the area really well.

Only downside so far is that one of the cameras seems to go through batteries faster than the others (who all are close to the 3 month promised battery life). Also, their cameras seem to be fussy as to which SMTP providers they work with in order to send email alerts, but once sorted out, works great.


Mobitix cameras have a high level of customisability in regards to motion detection. High end but worth it.


The motion detection takes place in the browser with JavaScript which analyzes and quantifies RGB value differences. HTML5 takes care of the camera. An email server is still required - HTML5 doesn't cover that of course. This works with up-to-date Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Opera browsers on Windows, Mac, and Android (the OS specific browsers running as applicable on various platforms). I am currently aware of just Safari and iOS on iPhone/iPad not working - the camera view shows all black and I have not yet attempted to solve.


It might be useful to get it running on headless Chrome, so it can run completely server-side. There's probably better ways to do that, but it could be fun.


I've not used it, but there's a node-webcam module:

https://www.npmjs.com/package/node-webcam

That you could presumably pair with node-canvas (or something similar) to achieve the same results without a browser needing to be involved.


What if js could handle sending email via Mailgun, Sendgrid etc.? Then it could be self-hosted (though you may not want it to be, of course).


Thanks for the ideas. One thing I have wrestled with in the past is how to prevent exposing the third party site email credentials (credentials the page would utilize for accessing Sendgrid, etc.) if the emailing code were hosted in the local and observable JavaScript. With the current server solution, at a minimum the browser and CORS enforcement take care of attempted cross domain access ... which is probably just slightly better than nothing at all.


Let end users provide their own third party site email credentials.


I like that idea. It could be an alternative, an additional option.


You could use something that is not e-mail. From uploading the images to a shared/cloud folder and/or a messenging protocol to notify you.


Be careful with exposing an open sendmail feature on your website. If it gets highjacked to send spam your domain could get blacklisted by google, yahoo, etc.


Sendmail is pretty much blocked everywhere anyways.


This is great! Any chance you can open source this?




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