The Canary: A self-contained security device controlled by smartphone


July 26, 2013

The Canary security system is controlled by a smartphone app

The Canary security system is controlled by a smartphone app

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According to the US Justice Department, people who live in rented homes are more likely to be burgled. In part, this is may be because flat dwellers aren't generally allowed to install security systems. As an alternative to teaching the hamster to bark, the Canary aims to put a complete security system into a self-contained, plug-and-play container that can be controlled by a smartphone app.

Currently in the prototype stage, Canary is a deceptively decorative cylinder about six inches (15.2 cm) tall. According to the developers, setting up the device is simply a matter of plugging it into the wall and waiting about 30 seconds. The cylinder contains a raft of sensors, such a microphone and an HD video camera with night vision and a wide-angle lens that allows it to take in an entire room without the need for a mechanical panning mount. What keeps this from being just a stylish baby monitor is that it also has a three-axis accelerometer that can detect if the unit is moved or smashed, a passive infrared motion detection system, a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, and even an air quality sensor. In addition, there’s a speaker and even a siren.

Control of the Canary is through a smartphone app that connects to a cloud-based system. The unit sends alerts when it detects something unusual, such as a temperature rise that could mean fire, or sound and motion that might be a break in, and it provides options of calling a neighbor or the police or setting off a siren.

The phone also acts as an ID for Canary’s geofence feature. When the linked phone is in the area of Canary, the system recognizes it and disarms itself. When when the phone leaves, the unit arms. The Canary can be connected to multiple phones, so not only can other family members use it, but the device can identify them and send alerts when they’re home or leave.

According to the developers, the Canary has a learning capability, so it adjusts to your habits. There’s an automated mode or a manual mode to disable specified sensors for privacy. The idea is not just to make it self contained, but also to produce a smart system that reduces the chances of false alarms. Meanwhile, “bank level” AES-256 bit encryption ensures privacy, which is important because the Canary maintains a video and audio archive of what it sees, so it can track data and trends. It does not have a battery back up, but the online part of the system will send an alert if contact is lost.

Though the primary purpose of the Canary is home security, the makers say that it can also be used to keep an eye on pets, children, or elderly relatives. With this in mind, there is software under development to recognize and take into account dogs and cats moving about, so they don’t trigger alerts.

The venture is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo. Basic service with the Canary will be free, though there will also be subscription premium services, such as data options and call center support. The estimated price is US$199 with shipping goal of May 2014. The campaign continues until August 26

The video below introduces the Canary.

Source: Indiegogo via Gizmodo

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

This is interesting and great considering that it is just connected to a mobile device. Is this coming out soon? This sounds a great app to secure one's home. It is always best to find ways in securing one's home and it's alright to explore different options.

Rainie Flores

No battery backup. so burglars just cut the wires before they break in.


A Glorified Baby monitor, WOW amazing! What the F is the world coming to and they got over 400K for this, plus the design is a direct copy of the new Mac. The Canary: is a Next Generation Scam. A 12 yo can do the software and the Hardware today, but wait the old adage, if you can't make it good, make it shiny ( or now, just render it photo quality (Maxwell Render, Arion Render etc) regardless whether it works or what ever it is and make sure to tell everyone how they got everything ready including the chinese manufacturers and tool makers) and People will buy it.

Don't tell me it's a good combination of Technology NEVER been done before, it's actually pathetic tech riding on the band wagon of social financing hype.


slowburn - lol, you watch to many movies. burglars don't cut any wires, they just kick down your door, take ur shit, then leave.

Also, if you would have read it all, you would have seen that if the Canary loses power or wifi, it notifies you.

One of the great things with this is that the thief could be in your house, and would think this is just some decorative item or an air purifier...he's definitely not going to think that your watching him take your stuff while your calling the police.

Derek Howe

re; Derek Howe

So people are going to call the cop whenever there is a power outage. The burglars are already selecting victim based on low probability of an alarm and cutting the power is not that difficult.


re: Slowburn

I assume you call the cops once you have watched the footage of a guy kicking your door in


re; Ozuzi

If the power was cut before the door was kicked in without battery backup their is no video of the door being kicked in.


@Slowburn, true, lack of power kills the system. so work around the designer. plug it into a computer battery back-up. instead of a wall outlet. I would prefer to see it with it's OWN self-charging battery back-up, but hopefully, they can include that in the design. Personally, I'd set it up to be powered by a solar panel and battery, and mount it high for a good view of faces, instead of ankles. I like the idea of seeing intruders, without them knowing, I can see them.


slowburn - burglars don't cut the power over 99% of the that's not an issue.

Derek Howe

Ah Derek, that number will fall as the black hats out there adapt to their ever changing workplace.

Bill Mulger

If it were mobile, it would be very interesting. So it hears something and goes and has a look - like you would do if you were at home. What good is it if it detects something, calls you to let you know, but it (you) can't see what has made the noise? Your'e still none the wiser as to wether or not you are being burgled (or is it someone doing some DIY next door) or the house is ablaze (or is it your DIY neighbour stoking up his barbie?).

So - needs legs. MW

Martin Winlow
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