For most an IP camera is an item that is meant for home security or for monitoring. With their small for and ease of use they are fast becoming more and more common in the home. So what happens when someone combines the stealth of a security camera with social networking? This is what Astak
has done with their MOLE IP camera
. The MOLE features both wireless and wired connections to your network as well as remote management through an off-site server. But even more than that the MOLE is capable of sending pictures and video directly to Twitter and You Tube. Can this “socially” aware camera fit into the Home Security market, or will it fall into the Frat Party novelty niche.Package -
Astak has chosen to package the MOLE into a sleek black box. On the front we see a nice image of the camera itself with the name of the product in a large font.
The back has a nice diagram that shows how the mole fits into your home network. Interestingly they show an iPhone as a possible output device. There are also a pair of diagrams that show some of the features of the MOLE.
On the side of the box is a listing [well a group of icons really] that show the MOLE’s features in a more “clear” manner.
On the top of the box is something interesting. It is a three-step instruction set. These instructions are refer to the Yoics connectivity which allows remote access to your MOLE over the internet.
Inside the box is a plastic tray; this tray holds all of the items that Astak have included for you to connect your MOLE to your home network.
The MOLE -
The MOLE is undeniably an attractive IP camera. It has a glossy black outer shell and a sleek form that draws your eyes to it. However despite the outer aesthetics the MOLE is still bound by the same form that all Pan and Tilt IP Cameras are bound by. Still Astak has managed to give the MOLE a great look. Surrounding the small camera lens is a ring of IR lights for better low-light viewing. Above this ring is a single Green power light while along the lower edge of the base are lights for SD Card [If one is inserted] and for network activity. Unfortunately, these lights cannot be shut off while the MOLE is in use also the IR light shine brightly red when active; these lights combine with a very audible “click” that sounds whenever the MOLE switches from normal to low light making the MOLE very obvious when in use.
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The MOLE's Range of Motion
As we mentioned above the MOLE is a Pan and Tilt style IP camera. This means that you are able to move the MOLE’s lens to face different direction. The mole has a range of 270-degrees in a horizontal arc and and 125-degrees in a vertical arc.
The back of the base holds all of the connectivity options and also a slot for an SD Card. The MOLE can work over both wireless and wired networks, and also has options for a microphone port and external speakers. This allows for two way audio transfers making this a potentially good device for monitoring a child’s room or even something like a communications room [or that frat party you might be planning].
Overall the MOLE is a well put together device and one that shows excellent workmanship; it does unfortunately show a lack of forethought with regards to the lack of a stealth mode. Let’s hope the performance can overcome some of this.
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