Tuesday, November 25, 2008

N800 As A Baby Monitor 'Gizmo'

Turn your old N800 into a baby monitor, nanny cam, or surveillance device.

The inspiration for this blog post comes from qole's idea to use two tablets as a baby monitor. His idea was to have an application written for the tablets to do this. I clumsily wrote a few responses on ways that this could be achieved with the tablet's existing functionality, but then thought of a simpler way that I'll share with you all.

Required items:

Qty. 2 Nokia Internet Tablets (770, N800, N810, etc). The N800 for this application is ideal due to the swivel feature of the camera.

Qty. 2 Gizmo SIP accounts (let's call the two accounts UserA and UserB).

Optional Items:

Qty. 1 Gizmo Call-In number (to use with one of the advanced monitoring options)

Inital Setup:

1. Setup the 'transmitting tablet - Tablet A'. Place this tablet in the room to be monitored. Setup the Gizmo client with UserA login credentials, and set it to auto-answer incoming calls. Plug the power cord in, put it in a convenient spot, and aim the camera at the area you want to monitor. Don't forget to turn the volume to the mute setting.

2. Set up the 'monitoring tablet - Tablet B'. Set up your Gizmo service using UserB login credentials.


1. When you want to monitor the room that Tablet A is in, simply use the Internet Call application or Gizmo Client of Tablet B, and call Tablet A by dialing 'UserA' from your contacts list. Tablet A should auto-answer, and you'll be able to see and hear any action going on in that room.

Advanced monitoring:

2. Assuming that you want to remotely monitor what is going on, e.g. while at work while your nanny is taking care of your kids - simply connect to the internet using Tablet B, and repeat Step 1 above.

3. If you do not have access to the internet, but want to eavesdrop (for instance, if your kids are being babysat while you are at a movie), then you can eavesdrop on what's going on by using your cell phone. For this, you need to have a Gizmo Call-In number tied to the UserA account on Tablet A. Simply dial the call-in number from anywhere, and instantly hear what is going on in the house.

That's it. I hope this post is of benefit to someone out there.


1. I could not find an option within the Internet Call application to auto-answer incoming calls, therefore Tablet A must use the Gizmo client. If anyone can prove otherwise, please post a comment here.

2. Tablet B can use either the Internet Call application or the Gizmo client.

3. The video usefulness is questionable in low-light conditions.

4. Disclaimer: Use at your own risk - we are not responsible for any outcomes associated with using this how-to!

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Anonymous said...

In an ideal world, this would also be possible without Gizmo by using Bonjour-based telepathy-salut in the rtcomm beta package (provided it's only room-to-room in the same house and not home-to-pub).
The tablets would automatically show up as online contacts once they are connected to the same network, and one could use built-in audio/video chat.

The only thing is:
The rtcomm beta people say on their homepage that neither audio nor video is currently supported using this local connection method. I'm not sure if this is still valid information (it seems the page hasn't been updated for a while), but it might well be. That's why I started with "in an ideal world". Let's see if we'll live to see this happen. ;)

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that you should be able to make the call "in" from any device that supports Gizom (no?) so you really only need one tablet and your office PC?

Qole Pejorian said...

I would still like to see someone set this up using a gstreamer back-end, with dedicated functionality. If you are the transmitter, your speakers should auto-mute, and the receiver could even have a display that shows a graphical display of the sound being picked up from the first tablet, just like a "real" baby monitor. I still think it is very important to have lots of notification if your connection breaks, and it should try to re-establish the connection immediately.

Also, the Gizmo method has the added problem that the receiver is constantly trying to transmit as well, which is complete overkill.

EIPI said...

Yup, you can call in from a PC, or even the PSTN if you wish.

@qole ... no doubt, your vision for the monitor is the way to go, and is optimized for such an application. The Gizmo method is just a layman's way of accomplishing something in a similar vain using existing functionality.

Lizz said...

I would recommend a small piece of software for your cell phone instead, e.g. http://www.babymobile.de

Works great for me. Lizz

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