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HomeTechLaptopTurn Your Laptop Into a Free Surveillance Cam With This Site

Turn Your Laptop Into a Free Surveillance Cam With This Site

Illustration for article titled Turn Your Laptop Into a Free Surveillance Cam With This Site

Screenshot: David Murphy

As a pet owner, you’ve likely come home or woken up to find some evidence of late-night shenanigans around your living space. Fortunately, though, if you’d like to set up some quick surveillance for a particular area (maybe you have nosy roommates, or you’re going out of town and are feeling paranoid), you can check out the website critter.camera.

It’s a simple, web-based way to record motion that any connected or built-in webcam detects in a particular area. You don’t have to install an app or walk through some complicated setup process—all you have to do is grant the website access to your webcam (when you’re using the site) and click on the big pink “Start” button. The website will start “calibrating,” which is not something I’m used to seeing a website do, but I presume it’s recording what parts of your webcam picture are static so that it can then correctly identify any changes in the image as “movement.”

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Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you hit the start button and walk away, that’s it. The “calibration” process will chug along, and then the website will take a picture of any and all movement it detects within the webcam’s image. And by “any,” I mean just that; you’re going to get a pretty hefty gallery if anything that happened while you were away. (You might not want to point your webcam at, say, an exterior window, lest you get a thousand images of a swaying tree.)

The gallery will look a little weird at first, as you’ll see a lot of color indicating movement on top of the actual images:

Illustration for article titled Turn Your Laptop Into a Free Surveillance Cam With This Site

Screenshot: David Murphy

Click on any of the images, and when they pop up, use the second icon (that looks like a series of dots with a line running through it) to turn the coloration on and off. You can then download any images you want or trash them entirely. At minimum, though, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what went bump in the night in front of your webcam.

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