Simple room security help

I'm moving away in a month to go to university and will be living on residence. I am worried about becoming a victim to theft especially since I plan on bringing my desktop + laptop + bass guitar equipment.

I wanted to build something to just give me a slight peace of mind.

My idea was to aim the webcam from my desktop pointed at the door and have my webcam take about 5-10 pictures of the person walking through the door every time it opens and then upload those pictures to Dropbox.

So here are the areas I need help with,

a) I need to know what kind of switch I should look at or what kind of mechanism to use to detect when the door has been opened. Keeping in mind, it needs to detect a small opening and a large opening of the door just the same because I can't expect the door to be opened in the same fashion every time. Right now I am thinking a 'whisker switch' that is mounted onto the door frame which the door will scrape across every time it opens. The problem with this is that it will be easy to tamper with from the outside coming in, and probably very visible to any lurking eyes. I obviously don't want anyone knowing about this other than my room mate because clearly this isn't the most difficult thing to outsmart. I need something that can go behind the physical door.

b) How to send the signal from the Arduino to the webcam, get it to take the pictures and save it to my desired directory. I am looking for anything here. A link to something similar or just some basic code to get it all to run. I just am not sure about how to get the two to communicate with each other.

c) Any parts I will need to buy. I'm trying to give myself adequate time for the parts to arrive here. I would like to try and get as much done as possible now though.

d) Somewhere I can learn how to make basic .bat files. I just want to write a simple script to clean out my Dropbox folder because that space is precious.

FullyJosh: My idea was to aim the webcam from my desktop pointed at the door and have my webcam take about 5-10 pictures of the person walking through the door every time it opens and then upload those pictures to Dropbox.

That's all you need, really. There is no shortage of freeware, shareware and commercial software to do motion detection on a web cam stream and take actions when motion is detected. You could easily arrange for it to upload photos, email or text you when motion is detected and you could easily constrain this according to time of day or day of week, only run when the PC screenlock is active, and so on.

You [u]could[/u] use a reed switch on the door frame to trigger the Arduino to send a command to Gobetwino to run a webcam capture program if you wanted, but really there's no point - far easier and better to do the whole thing on the PC.

PeterH:

FullyJosh: My idea was to aim the webcam from my desktop pointed at the door and have my webcam take about 5-10 pictures of the person walking through the door every time it opens and then upload those pictures to Dropbox.

That's all you need, really. There is no shortage of freeware, shareware and commercial software to do motion detection on a web cam stream and take actions when motion is detected. You could easily arrange for it to upload photos, email or text you when motion is detected and you could easily constrain this according to time of day or day of week, only run when the PC screenlock is active, and so on.

You [u]could[/u] use a reed switch on the door frame to trigger the Arduino to send a command to Gobetwino to run a webcam capture program if you wanted, but really there's no point - far easier and better to do the whole thing on the PC.

Yeah I've done this project before without any Arduino and it worked perfectly. Check out YAWCAM if you're looking for some simple motion detection + upload functionality. It's open source too, I believe, so you can modify it as you see fit.

Sweet! Thanks for the suggestions guys! I wanted to make a physical switch because I feel I don't want it tracking every time I walk by the room. I need to do it's thing only when the door is open. God knows I would forget to turn on the software every time.

Gobetwino + Reed switch actually seem perfect for what I was going for with this!

I just need to look a little bit further as to how to actually use Gobetwino but the files it came with seem pretty detailed and descriptive. Again thanks for the suggestions.

I'm going to look into that webcam software anyway. Maybe I can compare the two and see which one works best for me and maybe I'll be proven wrong.

Don't bring anything you don't want stolen...

No matter what you try for security, the odds are pretty good stuff will get stolen from dorm rooms. For your laptop, I would look at the software that will transmit/email photos from the built in web - camera

I would also mark(engrave) every item with you SS # to maximize the chance that you will recover it when it is stolen..

wanderson: Don't bring anything you don't want stolen...

No matter what you try for security, the odds are pretty good stuff will get stolen from dorm rooms. For your laptop, I would look at the software that will transmit/email photos from the built in web - camera

I would also mark(engrave) every item with you SS # to maximize the chance that you will recover it when it is stolen..

Do you have any software in mind? My laptop should be with me almost 100% of the time. I'm more worried about my desktop + bass