16 SERVO 05.2014
Q. I want to build some kind of robot that will be controlled by a standard RC controller. What I’m having issues with is video. I would like to use a
regular analog CCTV camera and stream the video so I
could monitor it using an iPhone and/or Android device.
I don’t know where to start, or actually what to
search for exactly. Any ideas?
— Jasmin Ouellet
A. Remote video on a robot or RPV is always fun. Finding ways to do it can be an exercise in frustration. If you want to stream video to your
iPhone or Droid, then you will want to have a networked
video camera — not an analog CCTV. The good news is
that it is pretty easy to find an “IP” camera.
Rather than give you a list, I’ll give you a search term
to practice your “Google Foo” with. Look for “Wi-Fi
camera” since you don’t want a CAT5 cable between your
remote console and your vehicle. I’ve found units from
US$35 to US$200 readily available.
Now, you’ll want something to see what your vehicle
sees. Apps are available for both iPhone and Droid
platforms. They are out there if you look.
For the Droid, there is IP Cam
Viewer Lite which looks like it can handle
quite a few interesting Wi-Fi or IP
connected camera functions beyond just
displaying the video, like pan/tilt and
audio. Sounds fun!
I found another one called mydlink
which seems to want you to put your
video “in the cloud” and use a login to
get access to it. This is probably a great
way to do tele-presence, but it may be
more than you need.
Finally, you can use your Android to
create a Wi-Fi Hotspot and get your
video directly from the Wi-Fi camera.
This will probably only work if your IP
camera works by hosting a website that
you can access via a web page. No app
Even the iPhone can get in on the
remote camera fun. The first iPhone app that I found was
iCamViewer. Google this app. Like the typical iPhone app
— it is simple to set up if you meet the requirements. I
also found iCam mentioned on a couple of blog sites.
Several security-oriented camera companies have iPhone
apps designed to work with their cameras, like the Gemini
IP Camera Viewer.
If you have enabled Hotspot or tethering on your
iPhone, then you can access some Wi-Fi cameras just like I
Good luck and have fun!
Q. At this year’s CES, all the talk was about embedding sensors into everything. I’ve tried the usual electronic parts suppliers, and they only
have the relatively large breakout boards. Where can I
find the micro-sensors used in these products?
— Andy Donner
A. These tiny sensors are available at all of the main distributors. My two favorites are Digi-Key and Mouser. To find specific electronics parts on a
by Dennis Clark
Our resident expert on all things robotic is merely an email away.
Tap into the sum of allhumanknowledgeand get your questions answered here! From software algorithms to material selection, Mr. Roboto strives to meet you where you are — and what more would you expect from a complex service droid? Post comments on this article at www.servomagazine.com/ index.php/magazine/article/ may2014_MrRoboto.
Ask Mr. Roboto
hy is it May already? How does a year get on
so quickly? It seems like I was just making
New Year’s resolutions about staying on top
of my projects and I'm already falling behind.
So much to automate, so little time! A friend once told
me "If it isn't written down, it doesn't happen." That is so
true! Now, where is that pencil ... I am currently working
on four robots and helping my 12 year old to design the
next cool video game console. Yes, he is starting early!
Anyway, let’s clear the deck with some interesting
questions this month.