There are plenty of microphone-equipped DIY security cameras, but only some actively listen for ambient noise and alert you when it's detected -- and even fewer are equipped with specialty sound sensors.
But Cocoon, a cute little home security camera that recently kicked off an Indiegogo campaign, has a feature called "Subsound Technology."
Basically, this is Cocoon's way of saying that it can pick up on infrasound -- sound so low in frequency that the human ear can't typically hear it. This level of audio detection can travel beyond physical sound barriers so Cocoon can supposedly sniff out something fishy even if it's in a different room or more impressively, on another floor. That also means that you might not need multiple Cocoons (even in a larger home), since it's designed to cover more ground than a traditional sound sensor.
Think of Cocoon as a guard dog (dogs are known for their ability to hear ultrasound, or sound frequencies above 20,000 Hz, while infrasound is below 20 Hz but you get the idea); one that can send you a push notification and an email whenever something seems amiss. And of course, it can also detect run-of-the-mill sound frequencies too.
So how does Cocoon limit its superhuman hearing to true security threats? Supposedly, it takes those ambient sounds from your environment and notes their custom audio signature. Similar to a fingerprint, these sound signatures allow Cocoon to differentiate between, say, a door opening when you aren't home and wind turbines near your property.
This "built-in machine learning" is designed to adapt to your routine and zero in on anything that falls outside of the norm. That's definitely intriguing, but even the most predictable schedule gets off track sometimes. It's a good thing that Cocoon relies on geofencing to know whether you're home or not -- that way you know that it won't be triggering the alarm when you call in sick, forget something and run back home mid-day or otherwise deviate from your regular routine.
This Wi-Fi-enabled device can do a lot more that listen, though. The camera has a wide angle, night vision and an HD resolution, and it's also outfitted with a siren, a speaker, a motion sensor and a temperature sensor.
Cocoon's recently-launched Indiegogo campaign is already closing in on its $100,000 funding goal. The first two contribution levels that get you a Cocoon unit -- $179 and $249 -- sold out fast, but you can still snag one for $299 (converted, that's about £187 or AU$348). Units ship to the US, the UK and Europe for free, but a fee applies for shipping elsewhere. Cocoons are scheduled to reach backers by the end of 2015.