Robo Buddy Cam $50 w/free shipping plus $20 SWR


#1

Not really home automation, but some of you might find an interest in this remote controlled robot cam. Not much info on it so I don’t know if it works as an IP cam, it would be nice if it did. It also works as a stationary cam sitting in it dock. As a SWR (Shop Your Way Rewards) member, I also got an instant $5 off plus another Ebates $1.50 off so total price for me was under $25 with the Kmart credit but YMMV. Sells elsewhere for as high as $150. I went ahead an pulled the trigger so I’ll see how good it is. Controlled by iOS or Android.
http://www.kmart.com/swiftstream-robo-buddy/p-05743601000P?redirectType=SKIP_LEVEL


How can I yell at the dog?
#2

good for crawl space inspection… hmmm


#3

Or Security surveillance system.


(Beckwith) #4

More information here:

Range may be an issue:

“distances up to 65 feet (with no obstacles) and up to 35 feet (with obstacles)”


(Bernie H) #5

Since I received a $25 GC for Xmas it cost me $7 with Ebates shipped with tax. :slight_smile:


(Scott) #6

The WiFi range looks appalling at only 35’ indoors.


(Richy) #7

For $50 bucks why not! I just picked one up you can’t beat that price for a camera you can control and go anywhere in the house when you are away on vacation.

Maybe you get an alert from smartthings that you have a water leak. Well not to worry drive the robo over to the leak and see how bad it really is.


#8

Had 35$ worth of points I didn’t know I had. Plus got $10 free points as instant use at sears or Kmart. So cost me $5 for the robo buggy charged to card. Pretty sure I get another few points for the purchase, so may have even been free. Course when logging in, I saw that I had about 100,000 points expire over the last month or so that I had forgot to use. Oh well.


#9

First impressions:
I just picked up my Robo Buddy and here are some of my first impressions.

1. Build quality - Average, very much like a cheap plastic electronics toy
2. Set Up - Instructions are a bit cryptic written in very tiny print. There are two ways to connect. One is through your home WiFi but you have to connect to the built-in Wifi in the Robo Buddy itself first, then you connect through your home WiFi. This should allow free roam wherever your Wifi reaches. The 2nd option is to connect directly to Robo Buddy using it’s own WiFi hotspot. This is for local mode only and the limitations of 35 - 65’ range depending on obstacles now comes into effect which makes sense.
3. Camera quality - 720p so it’s half-way decent. IR mode has to be manually selected for dark areas. It can take snapshots and videos which saves to your phone’s memory.
4. Speaker quality - Not very loud and I would consider poor quality, this feature may have limited use but at least it’s there.
5. Microphone quality - Uses your phone’s microphone, there’s a little bit of a lag but you can set your data rate from 128k to 800k. The biggest problem is no full duplex operation. UPDATE I was wrong, there is duplex operation when you have the microphone activated although the sound was barely audible through my iPhone.
6. Battery - It uses NiMH rechargeable battery wrapped in plastic with a little charge cable attached. It’s probably just 6 AA batteries tied together. Takes about 2.5 hours for a full charge. The Robo Buddy itself has 6 blinking blue lights that flash while charging and stops when done charging. A white camera LED light that continuously flashes while on but I don’t see a way of turning the camera off. They stop blinking when off the charger. If you’re not driving around, I think saw it mentioned that it can last up to 5 hours.
7. Noise level - It’s a little bit loud driving around and it beeps loudly when you switch between microphone and speakers. Those beeps are probably to let the other party know when the Robo Buddy is in listening mode.
8. Maneuverability - Runs pretty well, and you can drive it with on screen buttons or tilt with your phone or tablet. Using the tilt function is a little difficult to control because it’s sometime hard to make it stop moving. The manual mentions left and right trim for better control of direction but it was hidden and you have to press a tiny “>” to bring them up. I tried them but didn’t notice any difference. I have to tap on the left and right controls to turn more slowly but that works fine. I was able to drive it around and it’s pretty easy to guide it back onto the dock. The dock will help align Robo Buddy as you drive onto it.
9. Cargo Tray - I haven’t tried it yet but it has a little compartment where you can put candies or a cup of popcorn in it. It says it can handle an 8oz payload so a beer is probably too heavy. :slight_smile:
10. IP Camera - Unfortunately I didn’t see any way to access the camera separately via IP. There’s no MAC address so I wasn’t able to easily find it’s IP address.

All in all, a fun little toy worth the $25-$50 and to have an extra mobile cam.


#10

@Scott_Barton
This is only if you use the built-in WiFi hotspot. Connecting via your home WiFi gives you whatever range your home WiFi has.


#11

Nice, I ordered one yesterday- might be fun to play with the pets remotely. :stuck_out_tongue:


(Richy) #12

Hopefully one of you code/app Guys will write it into smartthings.


#13

Don’t have mine yet, but trying to figure out what the most secure way to use this would be. If it can be controlled by the app on a phone connected to the device’s own wifi connection without internet access, I wonder if it’s possible to control it from the app while it’s connected to the home wifi network while still blocking it from any communication outside of the local network? Don’t like the idea of the device sending audio/video to an external server, and would rather access it on the local network or through my VPN.


#14

What a fun little robot. I’m 36 and I can’t stop playing with it. So much fun driving it up to the recharging dock. It has great torque and can climb up a lot of things. Camera quality is pretty decent, range is just OK and it only supports 2.4GHz. Overall I’m very happy with it and for $50, what a steal!

My golden retriever is petrified of it though.


(Amauri Viguera) #15

Once it connects to your home network finding the IP and MAC should be trivial by looking at your router.

and you can probably use fiddler to figure out the network chatter between the app and the robot itself


#16

I started playing around looking for the IP address and I found it. I discovered that it does have a built-in web address but unfortunately it was way out of date because it required a Quicktime plug-in which no modern browser supports any more. However, I did discover that it also uses the RTSP protocol and I was able to view the camera either through VLC or through Livecam Pro (iOS IP Cam viewer app). With VLC, just go to File > OPEN network and enter your link (substitute with your IP address) rtsp://xxx.xxx.x.xx/live and you’ll see the live stream. This only works locally. I haven’t figured out yet how to view an RTSP link outside my home network, anyone know how that works? I know how to do port forwarding with HTTP but it doesn’t seem to work with RTSP.

What you see in a web browser (doesn’t work due to requirement of Quicktime plug-in that no longer works.)


#17

LOL I received my robo buddy today. It was quite the task to get it connected as you first have to connect your phone’s wifi to the robo buddy hot spot to enter your routers wifi ssid and password (for internet access for longer distances). then you can either control it directly by connecting your phones wifi to the robo buddy hot spot or for longer distances through your routers wifi.

As @Jimxenus said the built-in web address required apples quicktime, but no modern browser supports any more. Thanks for the VLC work-around.

fyi, leave the switch on on the bottom to charge and the blue lights around the top will stop blinking when it is fully charged, about 2-3 hours.


(Amauri Viguera) #18

RTSP works over port 554 (both TCP and UDP)

You can try forwarding those over and see if it works.

Is the feed secured at all? :grinning:


#19

Tried it but it didn’t work, maybe the link I used is wrong. I’m not sure if I have to format it differently. I just substituted my outside IP address in the link.

I don’t know if it’s secure, I do enter a username and password but maybe it’s not encrypted.


#20

When do you enter your username and password? is it after you’ve tried to load the rtsp stream in VLC? Or do you format the username and password in the stream address such as “rtsp://username:password@xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/live”

I couldn’t make the connection to the device and then i remembered that I connected it to a “guest” wifi network that’s not allowed to pass traffic back and forth with my intranet for security purposes.

Has anyone figured out the best settings for using the app on the phone for “internet” usage after you’ve gotten it connected to your own network? I’ve tried every streaming “resolution” (listed as bitrates) and can’t seem to find one that consistently gives me an adequate refresh rate without crazy lag. I’ll drive it and then wait 5-20 seconds for the image to update once. Occasionally I get moving images only a few seconds behind real-time. I’m guessing this is because the company’s servers that are passing the data through are being overloaded by all of these new devices purchased with the latest deal?