Tinkernut’s hidden Coke bottle spy cam

Go undercover and keep an eye on your stuff with this brilliant secret Coke bottle spy cam from Tinkernut!

Keeping tabs

A Raspberry Pi Zero W, a small camera, and a rechargeable Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery constitute the bulk of this project’s tech. A pair of 3D-printed parts, and gelatine-solidified Coke Zero make up the fake fizzy body.

Tinkernut Coke bottle Raspberry Pi Spy Cam

“So let’s make this video as short as possible and just buy a cheap pre-made spy cam off of Amazon. Just kidding,” Tinkernut jokes in the tutorial video for the project, before going through the step-by-step process of using the Raspberry Pi to “DIY this the right way”.

After accessing the Zero W from his laptop via SSH, Tinkernut opted for using the rpi_camera_surveillance_system Python script written by GitHub user RuiSantosdotme to control the spy cam. Luckily, this meant no additional library setup, and basically no lag on the video feed.

What we want to do is create a script that activates the camera and serves it to a web page so that we can access it from any web browser. There are plenty of different ways to do this (Motion, Raspivid, etc), but I found a simple Python script that does everything I need it to do and doesn’t require any extra software or libraries to install. The best thing about it is that the lag time is practically unnoticeable.

With the code in place, every boot-up of the Raspberry Pi automatically launches both the script and a web page of the live video, allowing for constant monitoring of potential sneaks and thieves.

Tinkernut Coke bottle Raspberry Pi Spy Cam

The projects is powered by a 1500mAh LiPo battery and the Adafruit LiPo charger. It also includes a simple on/off switch, which Tinkernut wired to the charger and the Pi’s PP1 and PP6 connector pads.

Tinkernut Coke bottle Raspberry Pi Spy Cam

Tinkernut decided to use a Coke Zero bottle for the build, incorporating 3D-printed parts to house the Pi, and a mix of Coke and gelatine to create a realistic-looking filling for the bottle. However, the setup can be transferred to pretty much any hollow item in your home, say, a cookie jar or a cracker box. So get creative and get spying!

A complete spy cam how-to

If you’d like to make your own secret spy cam, you can find a tutorial for Tinkernut’s build at hackster.io, or follow along with his video below. Also make sure to subscribe his YouTube channel to be updated on all his newest builds — they’re rather splendid.

And if you’re interested in more spy-themed digital making projects, check out our complete 007 how-to guide for links to tutorials such as our Sense HAT puzzle box, Parent detector, and Laser tripwire.


Eric Olson avatar

I expect an abandoned drink bottle is likely to go in the bin at moments notice. An electric torch would be less likely to meet such a fate and already include the batteries needed for running the Pi. At the same time, such projects are hard to recommend from a legal right-to-privacy point of view. I prefer putting the camera in a robot or remote control toy car where it is obvious what’s going on. Still, it’s a nice tour of making something with technology.

JD_Mortal avatar

Right to privacy… That is rubbish. You are recorded by over 20+ cameras, every day you exit your house. Within your house, you have the right to record whatever you want, as long as it isn’t a personal violation. (Bathrooms and changing areas.)

Not one person asks for your consent to record. They don’t even use warning stickers anymore. ATM’s, Banks, Markets, other people with phones, Gas stations, Hotels, Traffic intersections, Parks, Police-cars, all dash-cams, google street-view, aircraft “watchers”, Traffic-cams…

Why do you think that you own the light that reflects off of you? If you want privacy, go in your home and do something private. Don’t expect privacy in public, which includes being in another person’s private location.

Peter avatar

Please remember – this(*) might be illegal in your country!

(*) AFAIK it’s not allowed in Germany to buy, sell or own a wireless disguised camera (e.g. in pens, cans and so on)

Jeddiciah Quinn avatar

LOL i live in Germany irk i guess its a good idea

JD_Mortal avatar

Proof of ownership is a difficult task, if it is wireless. “Sorry officer, I just found it. I thought it was a soda, until I opened it up.”

The irony is that would make cell-phones, with cameras, illegal. “being disguised as a phone”.

That would make dash-cams illegal. “Being disguised as a rear-view mirror.”

That would make laptops illegal. “Being disguised as a computer.”

That would make many smart-watches, with cameras, illegal. “Being disguised as a watch.”

That would make most country/state/city owned traffic-cams illegal. “Disguised as a traffic-box.”

That would make most “badge cams”, used by officers, illegal. “Disguised as a badge or lapel or suit ornament.”

That would make most ATM’s cameras illegal. “Disguised as an ATM.”

I am sure the “legality”, is more related to “operating a disguised camera, to capture illegal footage”.

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