The Fix: Secure your home by making it smart
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The Fix: Secure your home by making it smart

9:09 /

In this episode of The Fix, we feature a device with an app that lets you lock and unlock your front door, turn an old cell phone into a security camera for under $10, and explain how all these devices work together.

[MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to CNET's, The Fix. The show about DIY tech and how-to. I'm Donald Bell. And, I'm Sharon Vaknin. This week we take a look at gadgets that offer you convenience and security at home. And, we're starting with a keyless entry system that lets you lock and unlock your doors. Even when you're not at home. What if you had the power to be able to lock or unlock your front door from anywhere in the world, just using your smart phone? Well, there's a wave of internet connected smart locks that promise to do exactly that, but a lot of them are total replacements for your existing dead bolt. I'm gonna show you one, that's designed to fit over your existing lock. It's called Lockitron. It's coming out this summer for $179, and it's one of the only smart lock options out there that's great for renters, cuz it's not going to damage or replace your existing lock. Now the first step is to download the Lockitron app. It's available for both iOS and Android. It's gonna walk you through the whole process, and, on this first screen here you're gonna notice a little thing for, checking the compatibility of your lock. You take a photo. You send it to the Lockitron people to make sure it's gonna work. Cuz I swear, we had to demo at least five different doors, before we found one that would work for this video. [MUSIC] First, register online. [MUSIC] Then add batteries to power it up. And finally, connect to your home WiFi network. [MUSIC] Alright, looks like we're all connected. It says the lock is unlocked, let's give it a swipe and see if it can communicate to the lock. [MUSIC] Try the other way. [MUSIC] Great. Now it's time to get this thing of the door. Using a screwdriver, I'm gonna put this C-Plate behind my deadbolt, and that'll give it a nice base for the Lockitron to snap on. You don't have to take it all the way off. Just get it loose enough so I can slide this thing in place. [MUSIC] These two little grooves down the back, just gonna lock right in here, and then slide carefully right there. [MUSIC] Now that everything's in place, snap on the cover, and you're ready to go. For one last test, [SOUND] the door's locked. I wanna make sure I can unlock my door, from my phone, from outside. Let's give it a shot. [MUSIC] I heard it. There we go. Alright! My old lock has now been upgraded and become part of the internet of things. I can now lock it and unlock it from my smartphone. Of course if the internet goes down, or the electricity goes out, or the zombies start attacking, I can always just use my little, old-fashioned front door key. [MUSIC] So as cool as that Lockitron product is, it's looking at about two months before people can actually get their hands on it. And that's kind of the nature of Kickstarter projects, right? You gotta keep hope alive. Yeah, you do. [LAUGH] Alright, we're going to a quick break. But, when get back. We'll show you how to turn your old smartphone into something much more useful. Yes, we've got a DIY project that'll breath new life into your smartphone. And give you some extra peace of mind. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] Welcome back. So, I'm a big fan of letting things go. I don't keep a lot of junk in the house. But, I do have some old smart phones collecting some dust. Well in this next segment we're gonna show you how to take a few basic materials. Some affordable ones, and turn them into a simple home security camera. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on a complex home security system, or, you can do it yourself with almost any old cell phone, and just a few accessories. Here's what you'll need. An old cellphone. Today, I'll be using iPhone. And a way to mount it to the wall. I'll be using car mount. As an option, you can also use an add-on smartphone lens. I'll be using a fish eye, a wide angle, and the super fish eye lens. And what they'll give me, is a wider view of what the camera sees. And finally you'll need a power chord for each security camera, because those phones will pretty much stay on, all the time. [MUSIC] What I'll do, is set up three different cameras. And you can do this at home, or at your office, or wherever you wanna keep an eye on things. I'll set up one at my desk, one at a coffee shop, and one where I have a view of traffic and weather. Once these cameras are all set up, i'll be able to check in on any of these real time feeds with my primary phone, no matter where I am. And there are lots of apps that turn your phone into a security camera, but the one I'm using today is iCam. That one is only compatible with iOS devices, but if you are using Android phones, then there is tinyCam. The setup is really easy. The way iCam works, is that there are two apps. The first is called iCam Source, and you download it on the devices that you wanna use as your security cameras. That one's five bucks. When you've got it, just create a username and password, log in, hit start, and that's it. Your camera is set up. Then, grab the device you'll be using to monitor. In this case I'm using an Android, because iCam works with iOS and Android for monitoring. Download iCam, it's also five bucks. Sign in with the same username and password, and voila! You'll be able to view one, or all of the devices that you've set up as security cameras. [MUSIC] To set up the three security cameras, attach each camera to a mount. [MUSIC] Place a lens on each camera. Then, mount your security cameras in your desired locations. Finally, to ensure a continuous stream disable the auto-lock feature. [MUSIC] Now that my three cameras are set up, I can launch the app and check in on them in real time. [MUSIC] ICam also has a feature that records still images whenever it detects motion. It doesn't work perfectly, but it is good enough if you wanna keep an eye on who's coming and going. [MUSIC] You should also know that the app works best when you have a strong WiFi connection. It'll make this whole process a lot smoother. [MUSIC] So we featured a lot of products that connect to each other wirelessly. But how does it all work? Eric Franklin joins us to explain. Hey guys, you know, we live in pretty amazing times. I mean the fact that you can have one device and then instantly and wirelessly communicate with another that's a world away. That's pretty incredible. So here's how it all works. In order for a device to connect to the internet, it needs a way for other devices. To be able to find it, to know where it is. For example, when you connect your router to the internet for the first time, it's given a unique IP or internet protocol address, by your internet service provider. This allows other devices to be able to find your router, in an ocean of billions of other devices. So once your router's connected, you have a home network. And when you connect other devices to that network, they're also given their own IP addresses, but they're local IP addresses. That means they have to go through your router, in order to access the internet, and vice-versa. [MUSIC] So, let's take smart locks for example. Smart locks use embedded WiFi chips. To connect to the internet through your router. And during the initial set up process for your smart lock, your smartphone is giving your smart lock's local IP address. So if you're at a party and you can't remember if you've locked your doors or not, you take out your smartphone, you send a command to lock your doors, and eventually it reaches your router, and sends it to your smart lock directly, locking or unlocking your doors. [MUSIC] Now, smart locks are a really cool technology, and could one day make our lives a lot easier. However, like any new technology, there are some security concerns. The reality is that there are hackers out there, so, proceed with caution, knowing that there are some risks involved. That's it for this week's show. Thanks for watching. If you have any feedback for us, or any ideas, you can tweet me @donald. And I'm @sharonvak. We look forward to hearing from you. See you soon. [MUSIC]

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