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

The Butterfleye serves as eyes and ears for smart connected houses.

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Brian Bennett
Megan Wollerton
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Brian Bennett

Senior writer

Brian Bennett is a senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET. He reviews a wide range of household and smart-home products. These include everything from cordless and robot vacuum cleaners to fire pits, grills and coffee makers. An NYC native, Brian now resides in bucolic Louisville, Kentucky where he rides longboards downhill in his free time.

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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (now SyFy). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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According to startup Butterfleye, traditional Web and IP cameras are just not smart enough. The company's new battery-powered camera, also called Butterfleye, will supposedly change all that. Envisioned to merge Nest thermostat-style intelligence with Dropcam-esque capabilities, the $199/£125/AU$275 Butterfleye, available for preorder now on Indiegogo, has eyes and ears trained on happenings in the home. And, thanks to a built-in Bluetooth sensor and thermal-mapping tech, it should be able to differentiate among family members, unregistered strangers and even pets.

Butterfleye flutters onto the connected camera scene (pictures)

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A new kind of home camera

Equipped with a microphone, camera, along with an IR heat-mapping eye, the Butterfleye pays close attention to activity around the house.

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.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Additionally Butterfleye says users can manually fire up the camera remotely and tap into its sensors through smartphones and tablets. It also features HD video quality (1,920x1080) and a rechargeable battery that's designed to last for up to 2 weeks in heavily-trafficked areas and for up to 1 month in areas that are visited less frequently.

That sounds pretty good, but Butterfleye isn't the only brand with this sort of functionality. The $150 Homeboy camera doesn't offer live streaming or HD video quality, but its built-in siren, auto-arming mode via your phone's GPS location and long-lasting rechargeable battery make it an appealing DIY option. It also offers night-vision functionality and an IFTTT channel, which Butterfleye doesn't currently support.

The $199 Nest Cam , the $189 Samsung SmartCam HD Pro and IControl's Piper are also appealing DIY security cameras, but all of them require constant power adapter connectivity to function properly.

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 of course also introduces its own ethical concerns.

Outlook

The Butterfleye touts a lot of nifty capabilities and it is now available for preorder on Indiegogo for a minimum contribution of $199/£125/AU$275. The campaign just launched, but the team hopes to raise $100,000 toward its connected camera. Butterfleye offers international shipping and backers should receive their units as early as this December. We'll be sure to track down a review unit at that time.