Secret Cola Bottle Spycam

Is someone snooping on your stuff? Want to protect yourself from people’s mischief? Big camera on the wall far too obvious to catch a perpetrator in the act?

What you need is a hidden camera, and what better way to hide your Raspberry Pi-powered security system than in … a bottle of cola?

Okay, we’ll be honest, it’s not the first thing that sprang to mind for us, either. But if you hook up a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a mini Raspberry Pi camera, Li-Ion 1000mAh Battery, Li-Ion battery charger, and a slider switch, you’ll have the bare bones of a device that can then be hidden in a fake bottle of cola.

The real secret to this project is the size of the components. Because they’re small enough to be concealed behind the space the bottle’s label uses, the project gains a veneer of reality. As long as the perception that the bottle is real persists, the camera remains hidden.

To this end, the build requires a 3D printed component, a plastic cup the same height and width as the bottle’s label. Once the components are installed in here, the bottle can be cut, trimmed, and the two portions filled with a mixture of cola and gelatin. All that is left to do is construct a new cola bottle, with the Raspberry Pi Zero W and connected components in the middle, hidden from suspicion with the bottle’s label.

Now, this is a great build, but we reckon it has a key weakness. What if someone fancies a drink? It won’t take them long to notice that the bottle doesn’t really contain cola. After replacing the “bottle”, there’s no guarantee it will be correctly oriented for future surveillance.

As such, it’s a good idea to consider some alternate appearances for this project. Perhaps a can of beans, for instance, correctly weighted, of course. Maybe a photo, wall clock, or some other object that says “I am an ornament, don’t move me.” Perhaps there is an external version of this build, where the camera is hidden in a gate post, topiary, or window box...

Any suggestions for an improvement to this project? Let us know!


Christian Cawley

Christian Cawley spends a lot of time with Raspberry Pis and scours the web looking for interesting DIY electronics projects and news for ElectroMaker. He's currently trying to show his 7 year old son how to get to grips with Scratch, but so far to no avail.


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