Adrien Bak Homepage

Night Surveillance

Time to start working on something new. The project I had in mind is a night surveillance system. This post describes the basic setup, required feature and optional features, along with useful links and ressources.


The primary goal is to get a live video feed from inside a darkroom. This feed should be accessible from a device connected to the same LAN as the device. The secondary goals are as follows:

  • get an audio feed in the same conditions
  • have a notification system that could run a specific action or set of actions when:

    • motion is detected in the room
    • sound above a certain threshold is detected
  • Get live feedback on the temperature and humidity in the room
  • have a notification or run a specific action when temperature/humidity go below/above a set threshol

The primary goal would already provide some value, while the other ones are optional. In particular, getting a notification on my phone, or getting my Jarvis instance to tell me when things are happening are cool but not necessary as a first step


After some minimal amount of digging, I settled on the following hardware:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 model B: because the thing is cheap, available, widespread, and a super low footprint is not critical, so a Pi Zero is not necessary here.
  • Raspberry Pi Camera NoIR V2: this thing is supposed to run in the dark so the lack of an IR cut filter is nice, the fact that colors will be wrong is not a concern.
  • DHT22: this is a numerical sensor for both temprature and humidity. It provides its readings as a numerical signal, which is convenient, require minimal circuitry, and is super cheap while havingi a good enough range and accuracy.
  • IR Leds: Preliminary testing of the camera rig showed that despite the absence of a IR cut filter, in normal conditions, there is not enough light to get a clear image. Additional purchase of a couple IR Leds will be required to actually get a clear image at all times.



This is an opensource component that already does most of the camera interfacing that will be needed:

  • Video feed is served as a MJPG feed on a local webserver
  • all camera controls are accessible from a web interface
  • rudimentary motion detection is implemented in a native binary that can be queries on demand, and execute scripts on positive detection

In the future I may need to rewrite part of this for performance reasons, but I doubt it will the case. A preliminary test showed that the latency is minimal, and the quality is good enough.

DHT22 polling

Polling this sensor and serving the results over a small webserver will need to be done. I believe this will be a reasonably small. This component will need to:

  • poll the sensor repeatedly, with a configurable time period
  • log the measuremnet in a local or remote log file
  • serve the most current measurements, last N, or last X hours over a REST API

THis sound like something easy enough for me to try out in Rust.

Message sending

A number of services exist that can do the sort of things that i’m interested in:

  • Twilio for SMS sending
  • Instapush for push notification sending
  • plain old curl’ing to send messages to another machine in the same network

Web Dashboard

Eventually a web dashboard sumarizing all of this data will be nice to have, this is something for which i have no idea so far, mostly because a simple HTML5 + Js page can functionally fit the bill, even if it ends up being ugly.