Baby Monitor Phone Hack


At our baby shower we were lucky enough to be gifted with an awesome baby monitor: the Samsung SEW-3037W, which features Pan Tilt Infrared video.  Aside from the annoying startup sound that can’t be disabled (that every Samsung device seemly has to have), it’s been the perfect device for keeping an eye on Clara. However a few weeks ago, we realized that the microphone –  the most critical part of the monitor – stopped working.  Samsung was really good about fixing it for warranty, but we are without it for a few weeks.

We had a few options: move Clara from her secluded nursery to a closer (and noisier) part of the house, buy a cheap baby monitor that may not even work well (and probably set us back another $50), or figure out how to cobble together a baby monitoring system with what technology we have.  Luckily we were able to use our phones to have a decent monitoring system that set us back $4.

We actually have my old Droid Bionic permanently docked in Clara’s room, that streams music and white noise at night.  After installing IP Webcam on the phone, we have an instant video-streaming server. From there we installed tinyCam Monitor PRO onto my Galaxy S4 and have been able to consume the stream.  I played with the free version of tinyCam Free to set up a proof of concept, and opted to spend the $4 so that I can get the prolonged audio streaming (the free version only allows a minute of streaming).

As far as an interim solution, this has worked really well over the last week.  There is a tiny bit of a lag (about 1 second on average), but I’m wiling to live with that.  The Bionic’s camera has always been pretty poor in low light, but I can make Clara out pretty well (we have a lamp with a red light bulb in the room).  The angle isn’t the greatest because the camera sits in the dock on her crib, but it gets the job done.  The benefits of this is that both Bethany and I can monitor Clara at the same time, and I actually can use VLC on my computer to watch the video as well (where this screen shot came from).


All things being equal, I would choose the Samsung monitor due to the responsiveness and nighttime performance – but if you don’t have $200 to spend, and happen to have an old Android phone lying around, this would definitely be an option that would get you by.