Build the future of communications.
Start building for free

Shannon Turner Builds A Pet Cam Using Django, Raspberry Pi and Twilio

BudgieCam.001

Thanks to the power of code, your pets are never more than a POST request away. Shannon Turner built a Twilio MMS, Raspberry Pi + Django hack so she can see what her winged companion, a lovely parrot, is up to when she’s out.
 
“Any time I miss my pet, a photo of him playing with his toy is only a text message away,” says Shannon. “I’ve had BudgieCam running for just over a month and I’ve already taken over 200 photos and nearly 100 videos.”

Building BudgieCam

 


When Shannon is on the road, she sends a text to her Twilio-powered number. Twilio gets that requests and fires off a POST request to Shannon’s Django site which triggers her Raspberry Pi (complete with Raspberry Pi Camera) to take a photo. The photo is stored on Shannon’s Pi server. Then Django instructs Twilio to send an MMS with the photo of Shannon’s pretty bird back to Shannon. This all takes place in the span of a few seconds.
 
Shannon usually doesn’t do this. She normally ships civic minded hacks. Hacks that help women learn to code, recommend movies that pass the Bechdel test, or out politicians whose ideals are quite behind the times. “This hack is just for fun,” says Shannon.
 
If you want to engineer a little fun and a whole lot more pet pictures into your life, here’s the code Shannon used to build BudgieCam on GitHub. Take a look at the Twilio integration below, and the MMS docs that will give you a good foothold in tackling project like this.
 

from django.shortcuts import render
from django.views.generic.base import TemplateView

import subprocess
import time

from twilio.rest import TwilioRestClient 

from budgie_settings import BUDGIE_PASSPHRASE, BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, BUDGIE_WEB_PATH, RASPI_IP
from twilio_credentials import ACCOUNT_SID, AUTH_TOKEN

class BudgieCamView(TemplateView):

    def get(self, request, **kwargs):

        """ Response Code 418: I'm a teapot
        """

        template = 'response.html'
        context = {
            'response': '418'
        }
        return render(request, template, context)

    def post(self, request, **kwargs):

        """ Twilio is configured to POST to this URL when a text message is received.
            1. Receive text message
            2. Verify text message and continue if verified
            3. Snap photo (use subprocess module)
            4. Photo needs to be accessible via a URL
            5. Use Twilio API to attach photo to SMS
        """

        text_message = request.POST.get('Body')
        requesting_phone_number = request.POST.get('From')
        budgiecam_phone_number = request.POST.get('To')

        context = {}

        if text_message:
            if BUDGIE_PASSPHRASE in text_message.lower():
                if 'video' in text_message.lower():
                    try:
                        budgie_filename = '{0}.h264'.format(''.join(['{0:02d}'.format(x) for x in time.localtime()[:6]]))
                        # raspivid -o video.h264 -t 10000
                        subprocess.call(['raspivid', '--nopreview', '-t', '30000','-o', '{0}{1}'.format(BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename)])

                        # This would convert the h264 video to mp4 but unfortunately it doesn't run quickly enough on the Raspberry Pi
                        # Maybe later versions of the Pi would be able to handle it, but this one can't.
                        # try:
                        #     print "\t Converting {0} to mp4".format(budgie_filename)
                        #     subprocess.call([
                        #         'ffmpeg',
                        #         '-i',
                        #         '{0}{1}'.format(BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename),
                        #         "{0}{1}.mp4".format(BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename[:-5])
                        #     ])

                        # except Exception:
                        #     print "[ERROR] Failed to convert {0} to mp4".format(budgie_filename)
                        # else:
                        #     subprocess.call([
                        #         'rm',
                        #         '{0}{1}'.format(BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename)
                        #     ])
                        #     budgie_filename = "{0}.mp4".format(budgie_filename[:-5])
                    except Exception, e:
                        print "[ERROR] Call to raspivid failed; could not take video ({0}: {1}{2})".format(e, BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename)
                    else:
                        client = TwilioRestClient(ACCOUNT_SID, AUTH_TOKEN)
                        client.messages.create(
                            to=requesting_phone_number,
                            from_=budgiecam_phone_number,
                            body="Video ready here: {0}{1}{2}".format(RASPI_IP, BUDGIE_WEB_PATH, budgie_filename)
                        )
                        context['response'] = '200'
                else:
                    try:
                        budgie_filename = '{0}.jpg'.format(''.join(['{0:02d}'.format(x) for x in time.localtime()[:6]]))
                        subprocess.call(['raspistill', '--nopreview', '-t', '5000', '-o', "{0}{1}".format(BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename)])
                    except Exception, e:
                        print "[ERROR] Call to raspistill failed; could not take photo ({0}: {1}{2})".format(e, BUDGIE_FILE_PATH, budgie_filename)
                        context['response'] = '500'
                    else:
                        client = TwilioRestClient(ACCOUNT_SID, AUTH_TOKEN)
                        client.messages.create(
                            to=requesting_phone_number,
                            from_=budgiecam_phone_number,
                            body="{0}".format(budgie_filename),
                            media_url="{0}{1}{2}".format(RASPI_IP, BUDGIE_WEB_PATH, budgie_filename),
                        )
                        context['response'] = '200'
            else:
                context['response'] = '401'
        else:
            context['response'] = '400'

        template = 'response.html'
return render(request, template, context)

Learn more about Shannon and all of the rad hacks she builds right here.

Authors
Sign up and start building
Not ready yet? Talk to an expert.