In recent years, the growing market for smart home devices has made it possible to keep pets off the couch, re-stock the pantry with a voice command, and even tweet from the fridge. However, where many fall short is establishing a seamless connection between the various items inside the connected home. Many products require users to dig out their phones, enter security pins, and open a specialized app—which ultimately takes twice the amount of the time that it would to simply flip a light switch.
Silk Labs, a startup headed by ex-Mozilla executive Andreas Gal aims to mitigate that with Sense, a sleek surveillance system consumers won't want to hide. The crowdfunded device runs on a platform also called Silk, and is designed to replace smartphones as a primary hub for a home's connected products.
Functioning as the digital eyes, ears, and brains of the home, the curved device, composed of glass, wood, and brass, detects user presence and recognizes voices and gestures. It intuitively performs commands like turning on the lights in a room the user is walking toward, playing music it has learned an individual family member likes, and keeps tabs on who is home using advanced computer vision for facial recognition and Bluetooth LE for proximity—which can also detect intruders.
A key difference between Silk and similar competing products is that it protects a homeowner's privacy by processing applications locally, which keeps personal data off less-secure and potentially third-party accessible clouds. It also employs a secure one touch, hardware encrypted secure setup, which eliminates the risk of a password being remotely compromised.
Sense is available for pre-order on Kickstarter, where backers can secure a Sense for $249. The device is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2016.
“We’re looking forward to ushering in a new era of responsive devices,” Gal said in a press release. “With Sense and our Silk platform, and forthcoming products and partnerships, we will have limitless potential to make the devices around us more useful in our everyday lives.”