Thursday, October 20, 2011

Techno Nursery

We're getting ready for 2 pair of little feet destined to arrive around February.  As such, I've been preparing the nursery.  I finished the moulding (still need to touch up a couple places) and got some bookshelves in.  As usual, I wasn't satisfied.  I needed to tech-ify the room.  So, I had a couple ideas:

Idea #1: Remote Lullaby
Over the last few months, I started collecting lullaby music into a playlist (thanks, Jewel for the inspiration and the starting tracks).  I even burned a CD so I could pop it into the little CD player/radio we put in there.  However, I knew that wouldn't do.  So, I dusted off the old Dell Hybrid pc and installed it behind some books on one of the bookshelves.  I dropped a network jack into that room and set it up as a headless pc.  The idea is to connect some small speakers and use the remote app on my iPhone to control the streaming of the lullaby playlist from my desktop to the nursery.  The idea being that I could roll over in bed and start up a lullaby without even getting out of bed.  So far so good.  Just gotta pick the speakers that are going to be connected to the pc.

Idea #2: Baby Monitor
Luckily for me, someone had already come up with a good way of doing this.  It only took about 20 minutes of searching on the web before I found JumiTech.  They have built an agent and an iOS app that work together to stream video from a webcam to an iOS device.  So, I installed their agent, plugged in a very, very old webcam from the garage, spent 20 minutes getting a driver that would install, and installed the app on my phone.  I started up the agent then started up the app on my phone.  After a couple of clicks (no serious configuration) I was looking at my face on my iPhone from the point of view of my little old webcam.  Very slick.  Next step is to purchase a night vision enabled webcam to see if it will work.  I should also be able to view the webcam from anywhere on the internet, thanks to UPnP.  I've disabled that for now, but we'll see if it becomes something I will enable later.  The agent supports audio, but since the webcam doesn't have a microphone and also since it only streams audio when connected, this won't work as a complete baby monitor replacement.  However, it's very cool that I can just rollover to my nightstand and within a couple clicks see into my nursery.

If you have any ideas for cool technology improvements for the nursery, I'd love to hear about them.  What else can I do with a network connected PC in the nursery?