How To Build Your Own Baby Monitor

shutterstock 36834514 Baby Monitor   How To Build Your Own Baby MonitorIf you’re a recent parent, you’ve probably considered getting some sort of baby monitor. You possibly considered the utility of a video monitor and then you may or may not have balked at the exorbitant price tags they come with. If you choose not to pay for such an expensive item, yet still like the idea of having a video monitor for your baby or pet, then this article is for you.

There are dozens of great ways to set up a baby monitor using webcams, old computers and a bit of geek know-how. We’ll go through the simplest method in detail, then give you some other ideas you can use to fuel your creativity if you prefer.

The Skype Baby Monitor

The Skype baby monitor is very easy to set up and only relies on you having a spare webcam, preferably with a microphone inside, and an old computer handy. If you have an old laptop or a Mac mini lying around these would be ideal.

Firstly, on whatever computer you like, set up a Skype account for your baby. You’ll need to make sure it’s kept as private as possible and that the following things are set up for their account.

  • Add yourself and other close relatives as a contact.
  • Video Set-Up tab: Enable Skype video, set to start video automatically and to automatically receive video calls from people in your contact list.
  • Calls tab: Set to auto-answer calls.
  • Privacy tab: Limit calls and chats to only people in your contact list.

In the baby’s room, set up your computer and start Skype, logging in as the baby, and check that any on-board sound has been muted. Adjust the webcam so that the baby can be seen and heard easily by the caller. Ensure any relatives who require access have added the baby as a Skype contact and vice-versa.

Skype Video On   How To Build Your Own Baby Monitor

This set-up means that you can leave your Skype baby monitor on and only the relatives in the contact list can call. These relatives will instantly get a video feed of the baby whenever they call.

Skype Auto Answer   How To Build Your Own Baby Monitor

Skype Privacy Just Contacts   How To Build Your Own Baby Monitor

Note that because you can use Skype these days on mobile phones and tablets this option is extremely versatile. You could easily keep an eye on the baby while you’re in the kitchen or the shed getting something useful done. Also, if one parent is away for business this could be a neat way of checking in on occasion.

BabySkype1   How To Build Your Own Baby Monitor

Other Baby Monitor Ideas

Of course, if you have the old webcam and computer lying about, there are many other ways you can set up a baby monitor depending on your budget, needs, patience and geek skills. Here’s a few more ideas:

  • Set up a Google+ account and try using Google Hangouts similarly to the Skype method. Note: This account could get deleted if Google found out.
  • Get a webcam which doesn’t need to be attached to a computer and connect it directly to your wireless network. If you use a dedicated router for your baby monitor you’ll be able to take this with you when you visit friends and family.
  • Leave an old mobile phone near your baby’s crib. Set it to be on mute and speaker-phone so it picks up baby noises but won’t wake them up. Call the old mobile phone from your current phone whenever you want to check in.
  • You could also set up a baby monitor quickly using your iPhone as the camera with Air Cam Live Video Lite for iPhone and the corresponding software for your desktop.

More Baby Articles

If you’re browsing for cool tips for your baby, check out these articles:

What’s your favourite idea for a baby monitor using regular hardware you already own? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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7 Comments -

0 votes

AdamB

Skype is a pretty good idea. Under “other ideas,” though, I’m not sure I understand the old mobile phone concept. It’s old, but it still has an active plan? Seems kind of expensive/silly to have a calling plan for your infant. Also, how does it answer when I call?

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

Some of the old phones (Nokias, for starters) can auto-answer after a certain amount of rings. As for the plan, you’d just get a prepaid card. In some countries it’s possible to have incoming calls for as long as it takes you to use all of your credit – and incoming calls don’t cost money. In other countries, that wouldn’t work so well.

0 votes

Elijah Swartz

Some people have data caps, so one con of this idea would be using up all of your bandwidth. Also, using a laptop or small computer would use more electricity than a standalone unit, but that probably isn’t an issue for most. In general though, it’s a pretty good idea. Another thing to consider would be getting and infrared light. The baby monitor we have at least has it to see in the dark. If I recall correctly, we can’t see it, but camera sensors can.

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

That’s a good point. I wouldn’t recommend this to people with a data cap. And an infrared light would be ideal!

0 votes

Praveen Kumar

I dnt have a baby :D…. but will try for sure…… Nice Idea… Keep Up

0 votes

Achraf Almouloudi

My favorite is to setup an IP camera which you can watch from anywhere .

0 votes

Angela Alcorn

That would work too!