The relentless march of technology has helped make home security systems a more affordable option for homeowners, while the ubiquity of home wireless networks has helped extend their capabilities and ease of use. San Francisco-based startup Angee Inc. is looking to take things a bit further by adding some computer smarts to create an automated security system that is portable and doubles as a personal assistant.
The Angee device shares a little in common with the Canary security system that was the subject of an extremely successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013. In addition to also being launched through a crowdfunding campaign, Angee can be controlled by and send notifications to a smartphone and features a cylindrical form factor housing a HD camera with night vision capabilities. Once set up, Angee is also designed to be completely autonomous and learn the habits of members of the household so it will arm and disarm automatically.
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But unlike the Canary, Angee's camera rotates to provide full 360-degree coverage of a room and uses an array of six passive infrared sensors rather than the camera for 360-degree motion detection. The device also offers full perimeter security through the use of security tags. These tags are small discs that can be attached to windows and doors and detect when someone is entering or exiting through a combination of motion and proximity sensors. The tags are powered by two AAA-batteries and feature Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, which is not only used to wirelessly connect to Angee, but to also sense nearby phones to identify who is home.
Angee is also completely portable as it can be powered by its built-in 3,600 mAh rechargeable battery, which the company says should be able to stream video for at least eight hours even if the mains power goes out. Angee's inbuilt storage will also record around an hour of HD video footage, or more at lower quality. The company offers a subscription using Amazon Web Services, too, to securely store footage in the cloud, but claims this won't be necessary for most people as Angee is intelligent enough to only record suspicious activity.
Angee determines suspicious activity on a number of parameters, including movement by someone it doesn't recognize, entry and exit patterns, changes in background noise, and voice differentiation. The device recognizes people via the Bluetooth signal on their smartphone or, failing that, by their voice. If suspicious activity is detected, a notification is sent via the mobile app (for iOS and Android), which can then be used to stream video from the device.
Once a person is identified, voice recognition capabilities also allow Angee to be controlled verbally, for both security and non-security functions. For example, Angee can work as a kind of communication hub and double as a personal assistant by recording moments for a family member who is away, answering calls, checking the calendar, etc. It can even remind the user to close the window if rain is forecast. For moments of privacy, Angee can be instructed to record only people it doesn’t recognize or turn around when so ordered.
Angee measures 5.5 in (14 cm) high and 3.1 in (8 cm) in diameter and weighs 1.3 lb (0.5 kg), while the security tags are 0.6 in (1.5 cm) high and 1.9 in (4.8 cm) in diameter.
Angee Inc. is aiming to raise US$250,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, which is offering early bird backers one Angee and one security tag for a pledge of $299 (the expected retail price is $429), with higher pledge levels offering additional tags and Angee units. If all goes according to plan, delivery is estimated for October 2016, anywhere in the world.
The team's video pitch can be seen below.