Posted on July 16, 2014, by Robbie Allen

We’ve just been awarded a UK patent for the ‘crab’ - an integral part of the Lobster Pot that goes a long way to making our cameras the most resilient, reliable and high-quality in the world.

The story behind it

Five years ago, we realised that in order to remain 100% reliable over a long period of time, a simple and independent method of monitoring power and device status was needed. All the ‘off the shelf’ devices we could find were lacking - so we invented the crab ourselves.

What it does

The crab has a SMS communications system separate from the rest of the modular Lobster Pot. If there’s a power-cut - unfortunately a common occurrence on some of the construction sites where we work - our online monitoring system will receive a message. When the power is restored, we receive another. This is the device at its most simple (and useful) - but we’ve added many other features to this anonymous-looking circuit to make it a truly unique device.

Over time, we have developed the crab so it can do far more. Our monitoring servers can detect the state of all the main Lobster Pot components - and instruct the crab to reboot individual parts if there’s a problem. We can use the crab to manage power - shutting down parts of the system when it’s idle  to save energy - great for when the camera is powered by solar, wind or fuel cell. We’ve developed our own communications protocol to easily and simply communicate with crabs - a human-readable format so they can be controlled and monitored using either our advanced server technology or a simple cellphone. The crab even reads the output from the professional DSLR camera fitted in every Lobster Pot - so if there’s a 3G network outage, we can verify it’s still taking pictures.

Integrated technology - for simpler installation

We always try to ‘keep things simple’ in our design - for example, the four major internal components of a Lobster Pot can all be changed in seconds and without tools. This approach makes the cameras on your site super-reliable - and if the worst happens - easy to fix. Everything is integrated into a single unit - making installation safer and easy and meaning we don’t need to connect to your site network - all we need is power an access. As the crab is entirely our invention - and made right here in Bristol - we’re able to maintain the very high level of quality control that our systems need. Our patent - hopefully the first of many - proves that we can innovate to bring development and creativity to time-lapse - and pass this on to you as the best quality cameras and service available. If you really want to get into depth on this patent, the filing is at the UK Intellectual Property Office.