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Embedded systems have limited processing power, memory and energy. When camera sensors are added to an embedded system, the problem of limited resources becomes even more pronounced. In this paper, we introduce two methodologies to increase the energy-efficiency and battery-life of an embedded smart camera by hardware-level operations when performing object detection and tracking. The CITRIC platform is employed as our embedded smart camera. First, down-sampling is performed at hardware level on the micro-controller of the image sensor rather than performing software-level down-sampling at the main microprocessor of the camera board. In addition, instead of performing object detection and tracking on whole image, we first estimate the location of the target in the next frame, form a search region around it, then crop the next frame by using the HREF and VSYNC signals at the micro-controller of the image sensor, and perform detection and tracking only in the cropped search region. Thus, the amount of data that is moved from the image sensor to the main memory at each frame is optimized. Also, we can adaptively change the size of the cropped window during tracking depending on the object size. Reducing the amount of transferred data, better use of the memory resources, and delegating image down-sampling and cropping tasks to the micro-controller on the image sensor, result in significant decrease in energy consumption and increase in battery-life. Experimental results show that hardware-level down-sampling and cropping, and performing detection and tracking in cropped regions provide 41.24% decrease in energy consumption, and 107.2% increase in battery-life. Compared to performing software-level down-sampling and processing whole frames, proposed methodology provides an additional 8 hours of continuous processing on 4 AA batteries, increasing the lifetime of the camera to 15.5 hours.