Passive Infrared Webcam Tracker

From the “My Electronics Notepad” blog, Noel Portugal created a tracking webcam using passive infrared (PIR) sensors, a webcam mounted on a servo, and the IO-204 monitor and control module.

PIR Sensors, Webcam, and ioBridge IO-204 Module

PIR Sensors, Webcam, and ioBridge IO-204 Module

Noel was able to pull this off with using the ioBridge Actions. An action is logic created through the ioBridge interface that allows automated events to occur. For example, an action can cause a servo to move to preset position, send an email, update your Facebook status, etc. In Noel’s case, he use the output of the PIR sensor to cause the servo to move to a set position. The output of the PIR is digital – “high” means motion detected and “low” means no motion.

Using two PIRs covering two regions, he was able to detect motion in two regions. If motion is sensed in one area, the webcam points in that direction and if motion is detected in the other area, the servo moves the camera to cover the other region. Very clever.

Here is a video of the webcam tracking in action:

The PIR sensor has been the subject of a recent Adafruit tutorial – it’s available on the Adafruit store and even your local Radio Shack (of all places). For more information about this ioBridge project and other projects Noel dreams up, visit his blog.

Serv O’Beer – ioBridge Project in Popular Science

Who knew when Steve aka “polymythic” posted his ioBridge project using iTurn to pour a real beer that it would get over 100k hits on YouTube and make it into print. Well, if you check out the April 2009 issue of Popular Science you will find Steve’s Serv O’Beer is the “Build of the Month” in the How 2.0 section of the magazine. There’s a photo of the latest version of the system with a sturdier frame made of Contrux and an ioBridge IO-204 to link the iPhone to a web application to drive a servo. You can read all about on Popular Science and learn how to build your own Servo O’Beer at Instructables.

Beer Pouring Robot – Serv O’Beer

Steve from built a “robot ” with Construx, a servo, and an ioBridge module that allows you to pour a beer with the turn of your iPhone.

Here is a video introduction of the Serv O’Beer robot:

Steve also posted the step-by-step instructions on Steve used the iTurn functionality, the servo board, and the IO-204 module to allow the Internet-connected iPhone pour his beer.

Serv O’Beer with iPhone for the Perfect PourMore DIY How To Projects

Serv O’Beer is a clever project and it uses Construx which is every one’s favorite. Steve is a true polymath.

Execute Widgets with Change in Screen Orientation

The iPod Touch and iPhone have an accelerometer that adjusts the screen orientation (among other things). You can tap into the orientation and execute widgets depending on the orientation of the device by using a simple HTML file with some Javascript. Put an HTML file on a web server that you can get to on your iPod Touch or iPhone.

Part of the Apple Web Kit is the command “onorientationchange”. We will use that to detect the orientation change and call a script called “updateOrientation()”.

Add the following command to the BODY tag:


Place the following function in the HEAD of the document and call certain widgets at the specific orientation angles of 0°, -90°, and 90°. You can call any type of widget adjusting the position of a servo, controlling a digital output, or setting the state of an X10 widget.

function updateOrientation(){
case 0: widgetExecute("Upright Widget ID");
case -90: widgetExecute("Right Widget ID");
case 90: widgetExecute("Left Widget ID");

Place the widgets referenced in the BODY of the document.


The full iTurn web app is on the Wiki: