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Appliances

Canary delivers affordable home security controlled with your smartphone

A new multi-sensor home security hub currently seeking funding on Indiegogo monitors your home while you're out, learning your movements and sending you live updates in real time.

A new multi-sensor home security hub currently seeking funding on Indiegogo monitors your home while you're out, learning your movements and sending you live updates in real time.

(Credit: Canary)

Back in the day, coal miners used to bring canaries underground — not for company, but as an early warning system for toxic gas leaks. If the canary started freaking out, it was time to get out of dodge.

Canary isn't quite so feathery, and the conditions it monitors are not quite so life threatening (we hope!), but it aims to provide a similar service: keeping its sensors trained on your home and making you aware of any potential problems as soon as they happen. And it requires no complicated installations to do so.

The device itself is small, light and portable, about the size of a can of drink — around 15 centimetres high and 7.5cm in diameter. Packed inside is a variety of sensors: a high-definition camera with night vision and a wide-angle lens, a microphone, a passive infrared motion detector, a speaker, a siren, a three-axis accelerometer, a Wi-Fi antenna and sensors for temperature, humidity and air quality.

Set-up takes around 30 seconds. All you have to do is plug it into a power point and connect it up to your network. From there, Canary takes over, learning the rhythms of your household in order to sort out unusual activity. An iOS or Android app will keep you up to date with goings-on, such as unusual movement or a rise in temperature — and the accelerometer can detect whether someone moves or breaks the device. You will receive real-time alerts, and can choose several options, such as calling emergency services, sending a text message or triggering the device's siren.

(Credit: Canary)

You can also view video footage via a real-time stream, so if you get an alert, you can immediately check to see what's going on — and if the power or Wi-Fi cut out, you will receive an alert through the Canary Cloud and can review the prior footage to see whether it was just a regular power outage or something you need to know about.

When you arrive back in the vicinity of your Canary unit, Canary will detect your phone and automatically disarm; when you leave, it will automatically arm; and it can be linked with several different phones, so every member of the household can be kept up to date with what is happening at home, and Canary can send updates to other household members about who is home. This automated process means Canary is really easy for everyone to use without having the technical know-how to operate a security system.

Each Canary unit — you can set up several around your home for more complete coverage — comes in at an early backer price of US$199, with an estimated delivery date of May next year. After you have purchased a unit, all the basic services mentioned here will be free, although the company plans to introduce a subscription-based service with more features after launch.

You can find out more and pledge your support on the Canary Indiegogo page.