Home security can be a fairly basic and mundane topic. Every once in a while, thanks to advances in technology, home security enters the realm of science fiction.
We at The Security Blanket have showcased neat home security devices and technologies before. But this is different. Below is a collection of bonafide, genuine home security robots! Sure, there’s the obvious risk of these devices becoming sentient and rebelling against the very masters they were programmed to protect. (If you’re not worried about this, well, that’s just naïve…) Fears of unleashing Skynet aside, these robots are cool and quickly dropping in price.
[Note: There are some detractors that don't believe robots can be effictively used for home security. Read up on that viewpoint here.]
Interestingly, many of the companies making home security robots started out producing toy versions. Tech-capable, wanna-be Bond villains have been modifying toy robots for home security purposes for years. Eventually, a few manufacturers realized the market and started producing robots specifically designed for home security.
In the next few years, more models will be released and prices will drop further. Who knows? Maybe home security robots are the next growth sector of a $28.2 billion industry. Probably not, but these are pretty awesome in the mean time.
Whenever the U.S. military ends up with a cool, new toy, civilians begin clamoring for a mass market version. In general, the military likes to keep its most awesome tools secret but every once in a while, the common people get the goods too. Examples can be found everywhere from the Hummer to the AR-15 assault rifle. So what’s next for the average Joe looking to supply his own personal army? Flying drones.
Introducing the Parrot AR Drone. This drone takes full advantage of its flying functionality by featuring two cameras, one forward-facing and another on the bottom. The video feed appears directly on your phone, which also acts as the controlling device for the drone. One drawback to the Parrot AR Drone is the lack of any other control options. You either use your phone or you’re out of luck. (Okay, not entirely. You can use a Linux-based PC and a joy stick but that just sounds like too much work. Bring on the complaints UBUNTU fans!)
In general, the Parrot AR Drone is pretty cool, even if it reduces military grade technology to video game status…
Certainly not cheap and more than a little funny looking, the Roborior (the word is a portmanteau of “robot” and “interior”) comes equipped with infrared sensors, digital camera, and videophone. Roughly the size of a watermelon, the Roborior is a colorful robot that shines orange, blue, and purple lights. It’s makers, Tmsuck Co. Ltd. and Sanyo Electric Co., created Roborior to act as an “electronic sentry” built solely for the purpose of interior home security.
Using the Roborior is pretty similar to most interactive home security systems. Users can access their robot’s streaming video feeds from any internet-enabled computer or smart phone. They can also remotely control the Roborior’s movements to guide the device through the house. In “house sitting” mode, the robot will detect intruders and call the user’s cell phone. Even more interesting is the video phone capability which syncs with your TV to easily connect video calls. Unfortunately, full-functionality of the Roborior is only possible in Japan.
With severe limitations and a retail price of $2,500, the Roborior is still too impractical for the mass home security market. However, more than a few gadget geeks may feel compelled to fork over the money. Inspired by jellyfish, the device was designed by Paul White, who created a few Bjork album covers.
Featuring unique, three-wheel omni-directional movement, the Rovio WiFi Robot allows users to patrol their homes with ease. The Rovio works more like a security camera than a security system since it doesn’t actually “detect” intruders like other models. This robot simply lets a user patrol any area without having to leave the comfort of their well-worn computer chair. The Rovio also includes a 2-way microphone, which allows for communication with someone near the device.
Interested consumers can have the Rovio for anywhere between $300 and $500. Much of the price savings comes in the “dummy” GPS system that requires beacons in order to navigate across rooms. Other devices, like the Roborior, are able to analyze their surroundings and navigate independently.
On the plus side, WowWee, the makers of the Rovio, made the robot incredibly easy to use. A Rovio can be controlled from most phones, computers, and video game consoles.