Kevin the virtual roommate scares off burglars by mimicking a real person
Bold they may be, but most burglars would avoid an encounter with an angry homeowner if they can. But because we can't stay at home 24/7, maybe we can leave it to Kevin? He's a light-emitting speaker designed to simulate the sights and sounds of a real person, so much so, that he might just ward off any unwelcome visitors in your absence.
Made by Swiss home security startup Mitipi, Kevin is named after Macaulay Culkin's robber-repelling character in the Home Alone films. Just like Kevin from the movies, electronic Kevin employs some deft trickery to keep home-invaders at bay. Well, so his creators hope.
The Wi-Fi-connected speaker is billed as a virtual roommate and is designed to simulate an actual person in the home. Using an onboard illumination sensor, warm white light and fully adjustable RGB light, Kevin can sense when it's time to brighten up the place, and can even recreate the appearance of light from a television flickering against a wall.
On the audio side of things, Kevin uses a 5-watt speaker to replicate the types of noises that might typically be heard around your home, such as footsteps, instruments playing or the cries of a pet. The different lighting and sound settings can run automatically or be manually controlled via physical buttons on the device, or remotely via a smartphone app.
Kevin relies on an algorithm that takes into account things like location, language, time zone and weather to better simulate the presence of a real person. Users can also guide Kevin in the right direction by setting preferences, like whether they live alone, play instruments or have a pet.
Mitipi is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of Kevin, and is offering its virtual roommate to early backers for a CHF199 (around US$215). It plans to ship in December 2018 if all goes to plan. You can meet Kevin in the pitch video below.