Gone are the days of nanny cams embedded in teddy bears or CCTV arrays mounted outside your front door. The new home camera Butterfleye represents a new surveillance device that's somewhere in-between—a small, unintrusive device designed for monitoring your home's security, but with smart activity-sensing features which could also feasibly capture your baby's first steps.
"It's like Nest meets Dropcam," says Butterfleye founder Ben Nader, who showcased his product for the first time publicly in our Home of the Future this week. Dropcam, of course, is the leader of the nanny cam-like devices you can use to watch your home. But where Dropcam can be a little intimidating, Butterfleye is trying to be more user-friendly, and more of a toy in addition to being a tool.
It's the hidden camera that can document a burglar stealing your laptop and get high-quality video to send to police, but also can snap images of your cats in their most adorable America's Funniest Home Videos-esque moments and share those directly to Instagram.
The comparison to Nest comes in is with Butterfleye's ability to sense changes in the room's environment: Audio, motion, and thermal sensors can "see" when humans or pets enter the area, and the camera can be set to turn on only when those moments happen. "Instead of a passive camera that offers 24/7 surveillance, we are an active camera—we know to turn on when it is the useful time," says Nader.
So say the dog starts tearing up the rug in the living room: The camera would start recording video and send you an alert on your phone. You can choose to view and save the video, which is 1920 x 1080 full HD. You can pull out a few 3 MP still images, which you could share to Facebook or Instagram instantly. And here's one nice feature, at least when dealing with pets: It has two-way audio, so you could feasibly tell the dog to stop chewing on the carpet from anywhere in the world.
Butterfleye uses your Wi-Fi network and syncs to your phone via an iOS app (Android is coming). Charged with a micro-USB cable, the battery lasts up to two weeks so you can move it from shelf to shelf on a whim. It also uses Bluetooth to know when you're "home" and can be set to stop recording when you walk in the door. All your videos and photos are stored alongside the rest of the images taken with your iPhone, and in a way, Butterfleye is very much like an extension of the camera on that phone.
Butterfleye is essentially just a smart semi-hidden camera now, Nader hopes to eventually expand the role that it plays in the home. "The first generation is all about peace of mind and connecting to the home, then the roadmap is about smart decision-making," says Nader.
He sees how Butterfleye could eventually be integrated into the larger network of the connected home, allowing it to not only sense and send an alert about an open window in a rainstorm or a left-on coffeemaker, but also giving it the ability to just close that window or turn off the coffeepot. By then though, you'd hope the home would be smart enough to make all those decisions itself, right? Butterfleye is available for pre-order now for $199. [Butterfleye]