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Brief Published: 17 May 2016

Orbii: Roaming Robotic Home Monitor

Orbii can stream HD videos, sounds and temperature, humidity and air-quality readings to any smartphone or tablet device

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. 

For more on super-intelligent devices for the home, see Super Security and Seamless Tech: Home & Away.