An intelligent, sneaky, wireless camera for the ultra-connected home

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/ Updated: May 16, 2014 2:13 PM PDT

According to startup Butterfleye, traditional web and IP cameras are just not smart enough. The company's new device, also called Butterfleye, will supposedly change all that. Envisioned to merge Nest thermostat-style intelligence with Dropcam-esque capabilities, the Butterfleye has eyes and ears trained on happenings in the home. It'll also adapt to your behavior over time to comprehend when you and others are likely to be roaming the halls of your abode.

Similarly Butterfleye claims its creation is brainy enough to differentiate between family members such as your kids, pets, and unregistered strangers who have no business entering your homestead. Boasting wireless operation and simple connectivity to smartphones and tablets too, a skill that separates the Butterfleye from the IP camera pack, you can bet it'll be hard to resist deploying this gadget on the sly around the house as well.

A new kind of home camera

So how exactly does the Butterfleye accomplish this level of intelligence? Equipped with a microphone, camera, along with an IR heat-mapping eye, the gadget pays close attention to household antics. The added bonus of these sensors is that the Butterfleye will learn your everyday habits to better service you and operate autonomously.

The Butterfleye is wireless and small enough to put all over the house. Sarah Tew/CNET

The idea here is for the camera to function only when it needs to, which not only saves power but won't trigger false alarms for intruders (when serving as a home sentry) or record continuously for no good reason. Of course you can tweak what criteria will make the device leap into action via a companion Android and iOS mobile app.

Additionally Butterfleye says users can manually fire up the camera remotely and tap into its sensors through smartphones and tablets. These certainly are lofty goals as are the Butterfleye's compact size, cordless functionality (thanks to a rechargeable battery), and ability to be placed anywhere without needing a constant connection to a power cord. Throw in Full HD video quality (1,920x1080), plus its expected $199 price and it's easy to see why the Butterfly should compare well against, if not outperform, other smart camera systems such as the $199 Dropcam Pro and $189 Samsung SmartCam HD.

Even with the Butterfleye's promised intelligence and sensors, however, the Blacksumac Piper has the edge in terms of DIY home security features. The $239 Piper also detects motion, when doors open, and even has a siren to scare off potential miscreants -- just be prepared to pay a little more upfront.

Charge the Butterfleye through its micro USB port. Sarah Tew/CNET

Another concern, or plus depending on how you see it, will be the temptation to set up the Butterfleye in stealthy locations which raises all sorts of ethical concerns. Keeping tabs on when your kids are really going to sleep is one thing, but spying on unsuspecting third-parties like visitors, babysitters and nannies opens up a whole other can of worms.


The Butterfleye sure touts a lot of nifty skills. Keep in mind though that anything can happen between now and the Butterfleye's target ship date of January 2015. For instance the Butterfleye units I handled were merely beta prototypes. All of the gadget's slick smart abilities were powered through the planned mobile application as well which I have yet to see personally.

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