Astute Remote Monitor(c) by Johannes Schneider

... is an application to observe objects distantly using a mobile phone. It can send pictures to your PC and triggers an alarm on certain conditions. It takes pictures on alarm and transmits them.

 

Sample Applications

o   Is anybody using(turning on) some electrical device, e.g. TV, PC, washing machine?

o   place the phone at the back of the device and use the magnetic sensor

o   Remote Web Cam

o   place the phone where you want to monitor and use a dummy alarm trigger (e.g. temperature <1000). Pictures are sent every few seconds.

o   Somebody entering the house? E.g. Are your parents coming home? (Don t get caught if you are doing something they do not want...)

o   When did your kids come home last night?

o   place the phone on the entrance door and use movement monitoring or use light monitoring

o   Nail them down with the picture, if you aren t home yourself

o   Did your mom go through your stuff while you were at school?

o   place the phone in the fridge and use temperature surveillance

o   Baby monitoring: Is your baby sleeping quietly or crying?

o   put the phone in the room with your kid and use noise monitoring

o   A picture is sent to you on alarm!

But attention! Learn the basics how your phone and its sensors work first!

 

DOWNLOAD

PROFESSIONAL VERSION on phone: www.android.com/market/

PROFESSIONAL VERSION PC App: http://www.dcg.ethz.ch/~jschneid/Download/PCApp_AStuteRemoteMonitor_103.zip

(PC App) requires JAVA DOWNLOAD FREE: http://www.java.com/en/download/

 

FEEDBACK/QUESTIONS

Drop a line to vollkoff@yahoo.com

 

What can my phone/the app measure?

Basically the Astute Remote Monitor(c) makes use of all sensors in your phone. Typically, these include:

Movements, Noise, Proximity, Light, Orientation, Camera (GPS monitoring and more will be supported in the next release)

Some phones come additionally with temperature, pressure

 

How will I be notified?

You can choose

o   Mail

o   SMS

o   Call (upcoming version)

o   PC/Computer: An app (PC Astute Remote Monitor(c) ) for desktop computers is included for Astute Remote Monitor(c) that plays an alarm sound and creates a blinking screen and displays pictures.

o   Phone to phone via Internet: is coming up...

 

What if there is an incoming call/text message while the phone is somewhere else?

You will be notified.

 

Does this work with slow internet connection?

Yes, but to transmit pictures you need about 10 kB/s. Thus any WiFi connection is usually more than sufficient. If you require lower speed let us know: vollkoff@yahoo.com

 

Why is this app a good app?

Try the free version and judge yourself! We claim:

o   a lot of functionality

o   Considers almost all available sensors

o   Many notification schemes

o   Live web cam: An App for desktop computers is included (see Download) for Astute Remote Monitor(c)

o   easy to use interface

o   A four step process to start monitoring

o   Apart from automatic configuration it is easy to define customized alarm conditions

o   low price

It is done in cooperation with a Swiss person, where privacy is more important than anywhere else in the world.

 

 

How can I set it up?

It takes a few steps, just launch the app. It is useful to read the part below: Background on setting things up.

 

 

Minimimum Requirements

Android Phone with OS 1.5 or higher; (IPhone App is coming up)

For PC App: Java 1.6 or higher, download free: http://www.java.com/en/download/

 

 

Recommended

Android Phone with OS 2.2 or higher;

 

 

I want something similar/new features/I am facing problems...

Drop a line to vollkoff@yahoo.com

 

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

o   An alarm is triggered, but I get nothing on my PC! Try the following:

1)Reboot your phone and check internet connection (go to browser, search something arbitrary to see that internet works)

2)Restart the app on PC, Enter Email, Press (Re)ConnectTo phone and monitor

3)Start the app on the phone

4)Choose Alarm Trigger Movement, Choose Above my value, Enter my value 1

5)Choose Notify Computer and Get pictures continously

6)Press Start on Phone and wait for 5s

7) Shake phone and an alarm should be triggered

If this did not do it, copy and paste the log from the PC App, describe the problem and send it to vollkoff@yahoo.com; I try to have a look at it

o   It seems very slow.

In general you cannot have a lot of background while monitoring. The App basically requires the full device. Running many other heavy load processes puts its stability at risk, if the camera is used.

o   I do not like the alarm sound on the PC App.

Just go to the application folder (search for AStuteRemote) and delete alarm.mp3 or replace it, but use only short mp3 (1-2 secs).

o   I see pictures but they look too dark/ too white.

The light sensor of the camera should not be blocked. So try it while holding the camera the same way if you took a picture. If this does not work reboot the phone, the camera service might have some issue.

 

o   I get an alarm but no pictures or pictures stop transmitting.

If other processes use the camera at the same time or lots of other processes are running the camera service might crash. Reboot the phone and use only one.

o   I get the error: ERROR Connecting to Internet ...or Server down. Please retry later

Retry in a day or two, in case the server is down. But if you cannot use Skype/chat programs because of a firewall (often company firewalls are very strict and do not allow this kind of communication we or other programs need), you must disable the firewall. Also check that you really have Internet connection.

 

Background on setting things up

For easy configuration we provided some preset values. But there is no app and not even an engineer that can preset all values for all applications. Thus in some cases customizing might be preferred. For example, if there is already some dimmed background light present and turning on the main light is not too much of a difference. Customizing is very simple: The currently measured sensor values are shown on the screen. You simply look at the value of the phone during normal conditions (weak background light) and during alarm conditions (main light on) and set the alarm value somewhere in between. Generally, we recommend to use values close to the normal state to be sure that the alarm goes off. However, sensors and phones are of different quality. For example, for many phones proximity is often binary, i.e. either close (< 2 inches/ 5 centimeters) or far. There is nothing in between. The measured value of a sensor heavily depends on:

o   How and where you place the phone. It makes a big difference, whether you place your phone one meter (three feet) closer to a light source or further away. Also some signals, e.g. noise, often has strong variation in intensity.

o   The location of the sensors within the phone. If you put your phone on a table such that light sensor is hidden from any light, naturally, the phone will not detect if the alarm goes off.

We strongly recommend that you test the alarm with a weak trigger, e.g. at situations which are much below the value you expect the alarm to go off, i.e. close to the minimum threshold. For instance, if you want to see when the light was turned on, you set up the app and place the phone and check if the alarm goes off under weaker light. E.g. when you place the phone further from the light source then you intend to install it for monitoring. So how well does it work after all?

There are certain limits for the sensors. Generally, anything that happens that you as a human can detect very easily, the sensors can detect as well. But be careful there are limitations regarding the necessary time and intensity:

o   Duration of an event: Very short events can be hard to detect. Everything that lasts less than a few seconds might be tricky to detect, i.e. a light blink, a movement lasting a few milliseconds, temperature drop/increase; Some sensors also have a relatively large inherent inertia, i.e. need time to detect changes. However, for the optimized Astute Remote Monitor(c) app and for our test phones we found the following regarding timing of the most used sensors

o   Light: A change in lighting that lasts 4 seconds can be considered very safe to detect. Usually, 1 second or less is enough.

o   Movements: A change in lighting that lasts 2 seconds can be considered very safe to detect. Usually, 1/2 of a second or less is enough.

o   Noise: A change lasting for 2 seconds can be considered very safe to detect. Usually, 1/4 of a second or less is enough.

o   Intensity of an event: All sensors have precision limitations.

o   Light: No camera can capture a picture at dawn as well as your eyes. But generally contrasting between dark, semi-dark and bright is doable reliably.

o   Movements: Slow movements at constant speed are hard to determine since most phones only measures changes in speed, i.e. accelerations. It is easy to detect accelerations, e.g. the beginning and end of a movement. If you move your phone 1/2 m (2 feet) on a table within 2 seconds, it is very safe to detect. The limits are reached if you do the same thing in about 10 seconds. But check yourself on your phone!

o   Noise: The sensor is quite good. To distinguish between more than 5 levels can be done safely.

To get a feel for the sensor just watch how the values change.

 

 

When is the battery down?

If the battery is charged the application works for a few hours - depending on the phone , but it requires quite some power.

 

Is this guaranteed to work?

What if the battery is down? Internet connection fails? Android crashes? The sensor does not detect the alarm?

You will always be notified when battery is low. If you use the included PC Astute Remote Monitor(c) App you will also be informed if the internet connection is bad or most of the issues that the phone and the app run into, while monitoring. The bad news is that Android (at least up to version 2.2) and phone manufactures do not give any guarantees and how often and when they perform measurements. This is partly due to the fact that the phone can be busy (or overloaded due to other apps or internal stuff) and thus cannot perform any measurements for a while. The good news is that given you do not run many resource consuming apps concurrently, the sensors are practically guaranteed to measure within reasonable times, i.e. way more than you need for most applications. Thus, any claims by any app (e.g. of some baby monitoring apps) that it works 100% is a pure lie. However, if you are happy with 99% reliability (nothing comes with 100% reliability ... you can use the phone for a lot of applications.

 

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