Gotya ups its spy camera game

Gotya has always been able to be used as a spy or hidden camera (“spycam”) as explained in this initial post on the subject. With the latest release of Gotya for Android and Windows Phone, we’ve taken Gotya’s spycam capabilities to the next level by adding two new features:

1) Support for front facing (FF) camera

You can now select either the rear facing or front facing camera from the camera main menu as shown below.

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Tap to select rear of front facing camera

2) Fake or black/blank screen savers with optional lock code

You can select either black/blank (black/dark screen that makes the device appear to be turned off) or fake (fake home screen), both of which hide the fact that the Gotya motion detection camera app is running. You can use the optional lock code to protect the device if someone should tap on the screen.

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Set fake or black screen saver and set optional lock code


Once you’ve selected which camera and screen saver you want, position the camera where you want it, start the camera locally and then tap “Dim” to activate the screen saver.

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Tap the dim button locally on the camera menu after starting camera to launch screensaver


Or, you can position the camera and then start the camera with the Gotya remote controller – the camera will automatically launch the screen saver when you do it this way.

This is what the fake screen saver looks like on an Android device (Nexus 7 in this case)

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Fake home screen screen saver for spycam use on Android device


This is what it looks like (see below)  in the wild, with the fake screen saver above running on the Nexus 7  – no one is going to know that a motion detection camera is watching and taking pictures of them.

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Gotya motion detection camera running in spycam mode with front facing camera and fake screen saver on Nexus 7


The picture below shows a similar setup to the one above, but this time with a Lumia 920 Windows Phone with the blank screen saver selected. It too is detecting motion and taking pictures and nobody is going to know. Which is exactly what a spycam is for.


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Gotya motion detection camera running in spycam mode with front facing camera and blank/black/dark screen saver on Lumia 920


Download Gotya for Android or Gotya for Windows Phone today and start having fun (or learning stuff) with your new spycam!

Note: spycam feature image courtesy of http://www.intelspy.com/


No WiFi? No problem! Detect motion and capture pictures anyway!

Video surveillance cameras from DropcamHomeMonitor, and others don’t work without a WiFi connection. This is because these devices have no ability to store media (video or pictures) locally to the device.

This means that if a bad guy intruder unplugs or smashes your WiFi router, or if your WiFi connection drops for any other reason (power outage, network outage, WiFi router failure), and you’re using either of those two apps above, then your video camera will no longer be able to record, and anything that happens after that is “off the record”.

Gotya, on the other hand, works without WiFi in three different ways:

1) When you set Gotya camera to save images to local. No network connection of any kind is required to detect motion, automatically take pictures, and save them locally to the device (pictures are saved to the Gotya album on Android, Saved Pictures album on Windows Phone,  and Gallery on Symbian).

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Gotya for Android – camera settings

Note: You can also set Android to auto-backup your pictures to Google+,  and Windows Phone and Symbian  to OneDrive. So even if you’re saving Gotya pictures locally, you can take advantage of these cloud services to have an automatic backup of all your Gotya pictures. This of course requires a network connection.

2) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has a SIM card with cellular data service, then it will revert to cellular data (2G/3G/4G) if the WiFi connection drops.

3) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has no SIM card or cellular data service and is WiFi only and you’ve got the camera set to save images to the Gotya Cloud, when the WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to saves pictures locally to the device ,and then as soon as the WiFi connection is restored, automatically uploads those pictures to the Gotya Cloud. The sequence of three pictures below illustrates this scenario. Note the network connection status in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The red dot at top center of the screen indicates motion detection is active.

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WiFi connected, pictures auto-uploaded to Gotya Cloud (normal operation).


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WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to save pictures locally.

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WiFi connection restored, Gotya now automatically uploads pictures that were saved locally, to the Gotya cloud


So whether you have no network connection, a slow network connection, or a high-speed WiFi connection, Gotya works in all of those scenarios. Try it for yourself.

High fps motion detection and picture capture with Nexus 7

In the first post about how to capture high frame rate / high # pictures per second with Gotya, we used a 20 month old Lumia 820 that captured 8 fps and said that we’d update this post series with a Nexus 7 (2013) to show how Moore’s Law – that is, the continuous improvement in price/performance of computers including tablets and smartphones over time – both in terms of hardware like CPU and GPU and software such as O/S – means that Gotya will also continuously improve it’s maximum fps picture capture as new, more powerful devices come out.

Now that Gotya for Android is out, we’d like to share the update on how the Nexus 7 (2013) performed. This is now an 11 month old device (started shipping July 2013) and it’s successor, the Nexus 8, is already expected to be announced at Google I/O on June 25th and will be another big step in performance , less than a year since the previous generation device started shipping. So the pace of performance improvements is only increasing.

The Nexus 7 (2013) captured 10 fps in our like-for-like test in terms of camera calibration and settings, at the same location and action sequence (somebody walking at normal pace). In fact this time the active window was slightly larger (which decreases the fps) and there are six times more pixels to scan and analyze in order to perform the motion detection  (1920 x 1200 = 2.3M on the Nexus 7  vs  800 x 480 = 384K on the Lumia 820). Even still, we observed a 25% fps performance increase over the 8 fps captured by the Lumia 820 Windows Phone.


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Nexus 7 Gotya motion detection camera calibration from Nexus S remote controller


Here’s the GIF of the 40 frames captured in 4 seconds

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10 fps captured by Nexus 7 (2013)

And here’s the first and last frames of the GIF with the timestamps in the top left showing the 4 second duration.

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Frame 1 captured by Gotya on Nexus 7



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Frame 40 captured by Gotya on Nexus 7


It’s important to highlight that these are real-world settings designed to capture pictures of a person walking at normal speed in a specific area (active window) – the path leading up to the entrance.

Gotya’s ability to capture high fps means that the details of an incident will be captured and you won’t miss a thing even when using devices 1 year old and more, making Gotya a perfect use for that old Android, Windows Phone, or Symbian device sitting around in your drawer. It also means that you don’t need a video surveillance app to capture high fps. Video apps capture 30 fps and we’ve just shown that Gotya on a one year old device captures 10 fps which is quite respectable given Gotya’s dramatically lower price and bandwidth requirementsas compared to video surveillance apps.

How does Gotya do this? With high performance native code and clever optimizations where the platform would otherwise slow down picture capture. No cross-platform IDEs or SDKS here.

We’ll provide an update with a 2014 device, maybe even the Nexus 8 or a newer spec Windows Phone 8.1 (or both),  and see how many fps Gotya captures with that new high performance device. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it real close to 15 fps.

Download Gotya Security Camera for Android now and see for yourself.



Gotya Security Camera now available for Android

Gotya Security Camera is now available in beta for Android 2.3 and later (up to and including KitKat 4.4) smartphones and tablets. This means if you have any older Android devices sitting around gathering dust, you can now put them back to work for you as motion detection cameras and control them with the Android device you’re using today. The app is free, ad-free, and new users get a free 60 day full-feature trial of the Gotya Cloud Service for instant alerts, camera remote control, and cloud picture backup.

The new release also packs three new features that we’ve prioritized based on user feedback:

1) Front facing camera support – you can now select either rear/main camera or front facing camera as the motion detection camera

2) Fake or black screen saver with optional lock code – use this to put the smartphone or  tablet in spycam mode – it looks like it’s either idle on the Android home screen (with the fake screen option) or completely powered off (with the black screen option) even though the Gotya motion detection camera is running,  and you can protect it with a 4-digit lock code.  Use this to deploy your Gotya cameras as spycams and automatically take pictures of anything that moves in front of the camera and get instant alerts. You can also take pictures whenever you want using the instant snapshot feature. All without anyone knowing that a motion detection camera is watching them.

3) Improved camera remote controller menu with larger icons for easier use.

You can download Gotya for Android on Google Play now.