Camera Traps for Citizen Science

Camera Traps can empower local communities & schools to observe & learn about wildlife. We aim to create an affordable DIY solution for all.

Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:00 am EEST - Saturday, April 23, 2016 05:00 pm EEST Local time zone:
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Technarium in Vilnius is joining Hackaday World Create Day 2016 to develop our Camera Trap idea:

We aim to create cheap, DIY Camera Traps that would be easy enough to build and use for citizen science. The traps could be deployed at a much larger scale than currently possible, as current kits are simply too expensive. They could be used in the developing countries, both as a tool for wildlife protection and citizen science as a tool for science education. They would be immensely useful for individuals, groups and schools to set up citizen science efforts around the world as well.


One of the concepts we are working on relies on using a Raspberry Zero - it's functionality (particularly ability to connect any webcam, which mean high quality surveillance), and low cost is what makes it perfect and accessible for building DIY Camera Traps in Tanzania and absolutely elsewhere in the world. Plan B would be based on Key Chain Camera and Arduino, which is easier to acquire and build in the hackerspace - but possibly more complicated for individual users.

Cheap DIY Camera Traps can become a universal tool that will upturn the current citizen science and educational practices in this area, as currently available Camera Traps are difficult to afford (cheapest being ~$100 per kit), which limits citizen science efforts greatly, especially in developing countries.

We aim to build a functional DIY Camera Trap kit for ~$15-20.

  • Discussing possible designs

    Egle Marija Ramanauskaite04/17/2016 at 02:48 0 comments

    Came up with two possible designs:

    1) Raspberry Pi approach:

    • Raspberry Pi Zero - $5
    • Simple WebCam - $2-10 (could use old donated ones too)
    • PIR sensor - $1.5
    • Micro SD card (4gb probably enough) - $2-3 ?
    • Battery
    • Case
    • Optional IR lights

    + can connect to any WebCam (or any additional tools if necessary) via USB
    + can be connected straight to a monitor for analysis later
    + would not consume too much battery power
    + can be programmed to stand by (save energy) when there is no action, and woken up again to take the picture
    + easier to reproduce and build yourself

    + can program anything on Linux

    - difficult to get Raspberry Pi Zero
    - would take time to program on Linux

    2) KeyChain Camera approach:

    • KeyChain Spy Camera - $5
    • Arduino that controls the PIR and Camera - $2
    • PIR sensor - $1.5
    • micro SD card (4gb probably enough) - $2-3
    • Extra battery
    • Case
    • Optional IR lights


    + cheap parts

    + easier to get the parts

    + there are also better KeyChains with motion detection

    + easier to program

    + uses less battery life


    - would need to install a bigger battery

    - requires soldering

    - photo resolution not so great

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