Orbii: Roaming Robotic Home Monitor
Texas-based start-up Orbii is developing a spherical robot that patrols the home with a camera and environmental sensors.
The grapefruit-sized, modular device has interchangeable panels with specific functions. Features include a high-definition, wide-angle camera with thermal imaging and low-light vision, and sensors to detect temperature, humidity, smoke and gas.
Marketed as a single-unit solution, it roams around the house by shifting its centre of gravity, removing the need for multiple sensors in each room and lowering costs. Orbii is equipped with a machine-learning algorithm that simultaneously maps the home and learns about its environment.
As well as automatic monitoring, Orbii can also be controlled remotely using a mobile or tablet – for instance, to check up on family at home. A built-in microphone and speakers enable two-way communication. The company intends to make the device integrate with other smart home devices – for instance, communicating with thermostats to maintain temperature, or with smart locks to secure the home.
The device was demoed at CES 2016 in January, but details of a crowdfunding campaign are yet to be announced. Orbii says the device will be retailed at $299 with no monthly contract.