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Turn your Android gadget into a motion-activated security camera

Turn your Android gadget into a motion-activated security camera
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

When you're out of the house, you want to know that your valuables are safe from burglars and snoops. However, a full security system or even a security camera might be a little out of budget.

In some cases, you might only need to monitor a single door, say if you're renting a room or staying in a hotel. Maybe you want to watch a drawer, closet or jewelry box. In those cases, there's a simple solution that you might be able to do for free.

If you have an unused smartphone or tablet lying around, you can turn it into a security camera with very little effort. If you do use a tablet, it will need to have a rear camera.

You'll also need a stand to keep the gadget upright and pointed in the right direction. I sell a good, inexpensive smartphone and tablet stand in my store. With that in place, now you just need the app.

You can grab the free Salient Eye app for Android (an Apple version is coming). The name is little odd, but the features are top notch.

It uses your phone's camera to sense motion, and alerts you via email or text. Then it starts capturing photos of the thief and uploads them online to a free cloud storage account. A few seconds later, it triggers an audible alarm to, hopefully, scare the thief away. To shut off the alarm requires a password.

Here's a demonstration.

For the notification and uploading features, you will need to have your gadget connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network. It can still capture images and sound the alarm without a connection, but if the thief steals the phone then it doesn't do as much good.

In situations where you know someone is coming in, like a cleaning person, you can turn off the alarm so you can see what they're doing, but not alert them. You can also turn off notifications if you just want to use it as a motion alarm.

The developer claims it can work up to 10 hours on battery alone, so it will even work in places you can't access to an outlet, like a drawer or jewelry box, or on a camping trip. There's also a paid remote-control app that lets you turn it on and off from a distance.

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