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Raspberry Pi Stops Package Thieves with AI and Flour

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Ryder Damen)

We feature many cool Raspberry Pi creations here at Tom’s Hardware and some of the best Raspberry Pi projects we’ve had the pleasure of featuring come from the creative mind of Ryder Damen. Today we’re sharing this clever, yet somewhat aggressive, Raspberry Pi-powered package security system.

Update (8/9): Ryder has written a complete tutorial for us on how to build this Raspberry Pi package security system so you can see exactly how he did it.

According to Ryder, the idea came after someone stole a package off of his porch. His solution? Engineer a Raspberry Pi-controlled alert system to identify thieves with the help of artificial intelligence.

The components used are fairly simple but put together create a complex system of chaos for the would-be thief. A camera is used to observe the porch in real-time. Ryder trained a custom model for TensorFlow to recognize when a package is or isn’t present. This TensorFlow system works in tandem with Python to signal the alert system.

Once triggered, a siren blares and a red light flashes. If that’s not enough, sprinklers in the yard activate and intruders are met with a blast of flour as they leave the porch. Wanting to avoid any unwanted triggers, Ryder also trained the camera to recognize his face which will disarm the alert system.

You can explore the code used in this project at GitHub and find more cool projects on Ryder’s official YouTube channel.

  • mrv_co
    It's all fun and games until.... the second package arrives.
    Reply
  • AndyNorwich
    What if the person who originally delivered the parcel, later after leaving it, realises he has left the wrong parcel, so goes to take it away, or to change it for a potentially different sized package,? They would get covered in flour & water etc.!
    This would probably get your address blacklisted for deliveries, and possibly you being arrested and made to pay damages etc.

    You need to be ultra careful when using automated security features that punish or damage anyone/anything.
    Reply
  • Btv
    If there are 3 packets and thief steals one or two will alarm go off?

    Also user can leave the cardboard box and system won't think he is a thief
    Reply
  • tragic_joystick
    In Soviet Russia, there more package thieves than package! Don't ask how it's possible, the statistics sometimes get manipulated 🤷🏼 the solution is to have package dispensers on every street corner. The package is delivered to the machine and then you enter a code to get your package. You can also get them delivered to some groceries. The added benefit is that it's much more efficient than delivering packages to each door, so you will get most deliveries in 2 days.
    Another solution: ask them to deliver it to the post office.
    Reply
  • asaushkin
    tragic_joystick said:
    In Soviet Russia, there more package thieves than package! Don't ask how it's possible, the statistics sometimes get manipulated 🤷🏼 the solution is to have package dispensers on every street corner. The package is delivered to the machine and then you enter a code to get your package. You can also get them delivered to some groceries. The added benefit is that it's much more efficient than delivering packages to each door, so you will get most deliveries in 2 days.
    Another solution: ask them to deliver it to the post office.

    Why did you mention Russia? I've been living here for more than 40 years, got hundreds of packages and maybe just 2 or 3 of them were lost.
    Also, as I know it's more common to stole the package content than the package itself. So, the Russia's story is more about the post office employees than the street thieves.
    Reply
  • tragic_joystick
    asaushkin said:
    Why did you mention Russia? I've been living here for more than 40 years, got hundreds of packages and maybe just 2 or 3 of them were lost.
    Also, as I know it's more common to stole the package content than the package itself. So, the Russia's story is more about the post office employees than the street thieves.

    Really? Do they put the package in front of your door like in the video? No one would agree to this in Poland, it's like asking for it to get stolen.
    Mostly I was just playing with the meme 'in Soviet Russia...' 🤷🏼
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    tragic_joystick said:
    Really? Do they put the package in front of your door like in the video? No one would agree to this in Poland, it's like asking for it to get stolen.
    Mostly I was just playing with the meme 'in Soviet Russia...' 🤷🏼
    Thats how it is in many places.
    Like where I live.

    In 20 years of deliveries like that, thousands of items, I've had between 0 and 1 package 'stolen'.
    I say 0 to 1 because we're not sure if that "one" was stolen or just delivered to the wrong address.
    Reply