Lighthouse had a straightforward goal with its first-ever product: Make a home security camera that’s smarter than anything else on the market.
The result is the Lighthouse camera, which costs $US300 and is available to buy starting Thursday. It’s an artificially intelligent, internet-connected security camera. It can identify you and your family members, alert you when there are intruders in your home, and understand commands like, “Did the dog walker come today?”
Lighthouse is entering an already-crowded field of smart security cameras. But its built-in AI, along with the backing of prominent tech execs like Andy Rubin and Sebastian Thrun, make the Lighthouse camera an exciting entry.
Here’s how it works:
Lighthouse was founded in 2014 by Hendrik Dahlkamp and Alex Teichman, who met while working in Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun’s lab at Stanford University. Lighthouse later joined Playground Global, an incubator run by Android creator Andy Rubin.
The Lighthouse camera is the startup’s first product. When building it, Lighthouse wanted to “take a traditional camera and give it the eyes of a self-driving car, and give it the natural language understanding of a Google Assistant,” Teichman told Business Insider.
Teichman described traditional security cameras versus the Lighthouse camera as “going from VCR to TiVo.”
The camera has a 3D sensor built in, which Lighthouse says emits diffuse light, then measures the amount of time it takes for that light to bounce back. That way, the camera can create a real-time 3D map of the room.
The camera also has artificial intelligence, which means it can distinguish between different faces, and tell the difference between a person and a pet.
It has night vision, a security siren, two-way talk, and can shoot 1080p HD video.
The camera stands 8.5 inches tall and 3.4 inches in diameter, which means it doesn’t take up a lot of real estate in your house.
But it’s intended for indoor use only, so don’t try to mount it outside.
The camera pairs with a smartphone app — either Android or iOS — where you can watch live videos feeds, see videos from the past 30 days, ask questions, or create notifications.
A question like, “Did anyone walk the dog today?” will pull up any videos where the camera detected the dog entering or exiting the front door.
Adding your kids to the app will allow the camera to recognise their faces, so it can alert you when they arrive home from school.
If the camera detects someone it’s never seen before, it will send you an alert.
It can also detect specific gestures and actions. If you wave at the camera, for instance, it can alert to another family member who isn’t home that you’re trying to get their attention. Because it has two-way audio, they can then talk back to you and it will play through the camera’s speakers.
Since the Lighthouse camera has natural language processing, it can understand a wide variety of spoken or written commands and questions.
Here are some examples of things you can say to the device:
– “What did the kids do between 3 PM and 7 PM?”
– “Tell me if you see someone new with the kids when I’m not there.”
Lighthouse has some privacy measures built in. It’s end-to-end encrypted, and all data is eliminated every 30 days. You can also set the camera to capture video only when no one is home, or when you specifically are out of the house.
The Lighthouse camera costs $US300, plus a $US10 per month subscription for the AI features (or a one-time fee of $US200). It goes on sale Thursday on Lighthouse’s website, as well as Amazon.
You can learn more about the Lighthouse camera on the company’s website.