Throw away your burglar alarm

by Bruce Kasanoff on March 2, 2012

There are a few things wrong with your burglar alarm: it’s stupid, it’s too expensive, and it doesn’t fly.

But as you watch Vijay Kumar’s TED Talk on the flying quadrotors his Penn team studies, consider what just one of these tiny flying devices could do to keep your house safe.

These things – lets call them QRs – can create a map of the inside of your home, meaning they can fly on their own, and never hit anything.

They can carry a small camera, or motion sensing device. They can trade data with other devices, so they can report back to you when needed, or trigger an alarm.

Imagine a QR that when you are not home loops around your house every five minutes, or more often if it senses something unusual. QR could take a photo of someone at the front door (UPS, no worries) or catch your dog in the garbage can.

You could even send QR on special missions. Just call him up and say, “Find Timmy.” Off goes QR, looking to see if your 12-year-old son is home from school yet. Now if you think it’s science fiction to think a tiny quadrotor can tell the difference between Timmy and your daughter, consider this: Microsoft’s Kinect can already do this.

Is there water on the floor of your basement? Did you leave the stove on? Did you forget to turn on the dishwasher? QR can fly a quick mission, and send back photos.

To all those home security companies making fixed sensors that are hardwired into doors and windows, I can only say: oops. Your devices will make nice collectibles someday.

Nimble and adaptable is the way to go. Think of how helpful QR could be in the home of your elderly parent who lives alone. You can check to make sure she got out of bed, is eating lunch, or is taking the right medicines.

QR is unobtrusive, quiet, and can recharge itself just by landing on the charging station.

And, God forbid, there is a fire in your house, QR can find the people and tell the firemen where you are.

QR isn’t on the market yet, but trust me, entrepreneurs are today watching Vijay’s video and putting together a plan to bring these devices to homes like yours.

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