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HomeKit app developer Matt Hochgatterer today has unveiled an open-source HomeKit camera project. The HKCam utilizes a Raspberry Pi Zero W and a 3D printed enclosure to allow users to create their own security camera compatible with Apple's HomeKit for less than $30.
HomeKit cameras are a sore spot for smart home owners as there are only a few available and they all carry hefty price tags. The most notable to date include the D-Link Omna 180, the Logi Circle 2, and the Netatmo Welcome cam. All of which carry price tags well over $100.
HKCam is easy to assemble even for fairly novice users. It will require a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a power supply, the official Raspberry Pi camera module, a microSD card, and the 3D printed housing. If you don't have a 3D printer Hochgatterer is able to print an enclosure for you for a small fee.
The whole assembly snaps together and then will be accessible through the Home app. Hochgatterer provides a near ready-to-go Raspbian disk image to write to the SD card that runs a modified version of HomeBridge. The 3D printed enclosure will prop the camera up or allow it to be mounted to a wall.
Hochgatterer is the developer behind the popular Home 3 iOS app, arguably the best third-party HomeKit app available. It preceded Apple's own Home app and includes much more functionality, including specific features that work just with HKCam.
Using Home 3, HKCam will support Persistent Snapshots. Persistent Snapshots allows you to take a picture and store the image on the camera. This is perfect to go back and view past event where motion was detected and is crucial if acting as a security camera.
AppleInsider has provided a ready-to-go setup for creating your own Raspberry Pi HomeKit camera in the past though it lacked the 3D printed enclosure, motion support, or the Persistent Snapshots features in HKCam.
Hochgatterer has laid out all the steps on his website and accompanying Github page to get users up and running quickly after obtaining the requisite parts. We've started building our own HKCam so stay tuned to see how our experience plays out.