Security monitor/logger based on detecting cell phone

Did you see a new gadget or toy and start brimming with ideas? See something that has tons of potential? Discuss these thoughts here.

Security monitor/logger based on detecting cell phone

Postby SumGuy » September 4th, 2014, 7:54 pm

In an effort to detect and document thieves that roam around my neighborhood in the middle of the night stealing stuff from unlocked cars, the trailcam (aka game-cam or scout-cam) is frequently useful but suffers from poor detection range.

I'd like to know how I can take commonly-available computer hardware, including wifi and bluetooth radios, and build something that can log the MAC addresses broadcast over wifi and bluetooth coming from cell phones within range of a strategically-placed antenna with a range of 50 to 100 feet. The assumption being that since almost everyone has a cell phone, it aught to be possible to use the signals broadcast periodically by phones to at least know there is a phone in the vicinity, and possibly even capture a coded fingerprint from the phone. Possibly even the imei-code.

Such a logger would have the ability to notify me (email, or just "beep") if the detection happens during a pre-defined window (say, between 11 pm and 6 am). The ability to trigger a security camera (zmodo, for example) to record based on the detection of a nearby cell phone would also be nice.

Ultimately, the integration of low-power circuits into conventional game-cams to turn them into more versitile urban security monitors by giving them the ability to trigger on nearby cell phones would be very useful. The MAC address of the phone's wifi or bluetooth interface (or even imei-code) could be printed on each photo taken by the camera.
SumGuy
 
Posts: 2
Joined: September 4th, 2014, 7:37 pm

Re: Security monitor/logger based on detecting cell phone

Postby st2000 » September 5th, 2014, 8:04 am

This is interesting. But I think I see several different questions / projects here. As well as the need for deeper understanding of cell phones - my self included.

So, extending the range of the off-the-shelf-trail-cameras. The problem with this is that the IR transmitters them selves might have a limited range. So going to the trouble of extending the trigger range may not be helpful. Can you tell us if the IR transmitters are always on? Or if the motion detectors are IR receivers them selves? It may be, if you are not battery operated, that simply adding a more powerful IR transmitter might illuminate more area and consequently make the camera trigger over a larger space.

Tracking people with the WIFI radio in their cell phones? Well, even I don't have the WIFI radio on 24/7 as I try to routinely conserve battery life. Even then, I don't think I will connect to any SSID/open-network. So I don't think this is dependable enough to go to the trouble.

Tracking people with the Cell radio in their cell phones? I'm not sure how legal this is. Maybe someone else can comment. Not only that, but the test equipment I have see that "spills the cell phone's data" did not look cheap.
st2000
 
Posts: 1453
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

Re: Security monitor/logger based on detecting cell phone

Postby SumGuy » September 6th, 2014, 10:49 am

There are (some, or many) shopping malls that have installed cell-phone trackers of various sorts, the idea being to know how people move around inside the mall, and even inside individual stores. They use what-ever info they can get from the phone (which I'm thinking is wifi and bluetooth MAC address) to do this. They don't know who owns the phone, but they get pretty good info about how often that person (or who-ever is carrying the phone) attends the mall, which stores, which isles or departments, for how long, etc. For what-ever good that does them in terms of knowing what's popular, traffic, etc.

Naturally this is dependent on how people have their wifi and bluetooth setup, but I've read some reports that over 50% of smartphones have wifi roaming turned on - so they can seemlessly (mindlessly) connect to their home or office networks whenever in range.

You might also want to look up a concept known as "bluetooth marketing".

The problem with trailcam's is that they take too long to power up from "sleep" mode. During sleep mode, most of the camera is powered down, with only the IR sensor being powered all the time. When the IR sensor detects movement, it powers up the rest of the camera to take the picture. When the camera is used normally (in a forest or bush) and you're trying to take pictures of deer or other slow moving animals, the trail cam works fine. However, when you want to detect people that are walking quickly through the sensor's field of view, quite frequently you won't get a good image of the person because by the time the camera is ready to take the picture, the person has (or has almost) walked right through the field of view.

I've thought that a really good urban security-cam would have these features:

1) ability to mount IR sensors adjacent to the camera, so that you give the camera more advanced warning of approaching objects so it can turn itself on and be ready to take the picture. How these separately-mounted sensors communicate with the camera (wires? wireless?) is an issue. Knowing how to hack into (connect) separate sensors into one (or more) commonly available (under $75) trail-cams is one potential hack-a-day project).

2) ability to give off a short burst of sound just before the picture is taken would be VERY useful. A beep, a pre-recorded animal sound, etc. Something that would make a person walking in front of a trail cam turn his head in the direction of the sound as a picture is taken. Having a good picture of a person's face is key to following up with police. How to integrate something that can make the desired sound into a trail cam as part of it's motion-detection and picture-taking sequence could be a separate hack-a-day project. In the most ideal case, a stand-alone mp3 player (something the size of a USB thumb-drive) that can playback an audio file to a speaker using a trigger signal.

3) build a remote IR LED array that can be positioned more effectively to illuminate an approaching object. The array would be powered on by a signal hacked from inside a conventional trail-cam. The trail cam's own IR array could be deactivated if it was determined that the remotely-mounted array was more effective.

4) as stated in the first post, detect an electronic signature of an approaching cell phone, and either log the information (the project being simply to log cell phones as they come and go) or to activate a trail-cam to capture a photo of the person carrying the phone. In the most sophisticated hack, a battery-powered trail cam would have wifi/bluetooth MAC address or imei detection capability and incorporate that text into any pictures it takes.
SumGuy
 
Posts: 2
Joined: September 4th, 2014, 7:37 pm

Re: Security monitor/logger based on detecting cell phone

Postby SQTB » April 21st, 2016, 10:55 am

Actually you sound like you are not aware of all the changes to cell phone technology in the last 20 years. First of all BLUETOOTH is spread spectrum. Forget about being able to track it via a radio. Hollywood is wrong, you can't "jack" a BT and hear the conversations. It's only one person not two or more. Then the new cell phones are not analog anymore either, they are digital. And police scanner manufactures are not allowed to allow you to pull up those frequencies unless you mod the scanner. And since the cell tower is handing off channels you wouldn't know bad guy from a passing cop's cell phone and they both could be miles away. The special cell phone tracking equipment is SUPER expensive and only for phone cos. and LEO's.

Your best bet is to increase the range of your PIR sensor in your trail cams. The only way to do that is to put a Fresnel lens in front of the detector (don't block the camera). You can get these at any Walmart. They are small cards that are for senior citizens to read small print. Find the focal point with a flashlight. Put the thing in a black PVC pipe. You could surround the detector with dry ice and really increase sensitivity but that sounds very problematic. Also you could use remote PIR (or foot pressure sensitive pad) trip devices nearer to your target and feed a wire line back to the trail camera.

You could just point your web cam at the target and use free software that detects movement in zones around the target and starts recording and notifying. You need to keep exterior lights on at night though. PIR in web cams don't have much range. (PIR means passive Infra-Red)

SumGuy wrote:In an effort to detect and document thieves that roam around my neighborhood in the middle of the night stealing stuff from unlocked cars, the trailcam (aka game-cam or scout-cam) is frequently useful but suffers from poor detection range.

I'd like to know how I can take commonly-available computer hardware, including wifi and bluetooth radios, and build something that can log the MAC addresses broadcast over wifi and bluetooth coming from cell phones within range of a strategically-placed antenna with a range of 50 to 100 feet. The assumption being that since almost everyone has a cell phone, it aught to be possible to use the signals broadcast periodically by phones to at least know there is a phone in the vicinity, and possibly even capture a coded fingerprint from the phone. Possibly even the imei-code.

Such a logger would have the ability to notify me (email, or just "beep") if the detection happens during a pre-defined window (say, between 11 pm and 6 am). The ability to trigger a security camera (zmodo, for example) to record based on the detection of a nearby cell phone would also be nice.

Ultimately, the integration of low-power circuits into conventional game-cams to turn them into more versitile urban security monitors by giving them the ability to trigger on nearby cell phones would be very useful. The MAC address of the phone's wifi or bluetooth interface (or even imei-code) could be printed on each photo taken by the camera.
SQTB
 
Posts: 6
Joined: January 4th, 2016, 10:25 pm


Return to The new gadget brainstorm pit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests