Ring’s Always Home Cam is coming soon – if you’re invited

At last year At Amazon’s annual fall hardware event, Ring (which is owned by Amazon) showed off a drone designed to capture video inside your home. The ring is not called a drone-it was dubbed the Ring Always Home Cam-but it is an autonomous flying device that records movement with a plastic-enclosed propeller and camera. It was actually a drone. The response was quick: why would you want a drone inside your home?

“What could be wrong?” Undeterred by a chorus, the ring pushes forward. It is now making Always Home Cam available by invitation, potential customers need to apply to acquire the ability to purchase it. Last year, the company said it would sell for 250 250 and it stuck with that price. That’s right: for less than 300 300, you can play a drone around your head inside your own home.

Listening to Amazon and Ring Product Executives, the drone was created to reduce the burden of having multiple fixed cameras in different locations around your home. Instead, you can simply send a fly around to survey the space by pressing a button on the Ring Always Home Cam, or you can program it to detect specific activities over a period of time – say, at night, while the family is sleeping. It streams video to your smartphone or tablet and clips can be saved for up to 60 days with a subscription fee.

Since we could not get our hands on the drone, it is difficult to say in detail about its design. The ring says it’s lightweight, and we know the camera is mounted on the bottom half. An onboard neural processing unit enables the drone to detect various scenes, as well as objects inside the house. It has a plastic-tipped propeller for safety, and its docking station is designed to block the camera when the drone is at rest.

Ring president Leela Ruhi told Wired that the company has faced specific design challenges in building the drone. This includes “detecting windows and how lights are shining through windows, mirrors, chandeliers, children, animals – all the objects in our house”. “There is no public blueprint.”

The company may have been able to address some of the challenges of this engineering – and no doubt repeat it based on information shared by its “invited” customers – but some privacy and civil rights advocates expressed great concern about the drone last year, which rings Some boilers have given plate statements. Amazon hardware chief Dave Limp said during a virtual event today that Amazon sees privacy as “a huge opportunity to discover.”

Ruhi said one of the ring’s core principles is “customer control … and I think over the years Ring has really done a great job of delivering on that promise and keeping that control in the hands of our customers.” Ruhi further noted that Ring has introduced end-to-end encryption for videos captured with cameras and that Ring Always Home Cam will not be part of the law enforcement agency’s controversial partnership.

Evan Greer, director of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, said the home drone was still “terrible.”

“I think there’s a growing sensation among both civil liberties and digital rights advocates that having this type of Internet-connected camera in your home makes you less secure, not more secure,” Greer says. (Greer was not quoting a specific data set, he explained later, but made an observation.) Didn’t give from them. ”

Correction on September 2, 2021: Before this story it was wrongly said that there is always a microphone in the home cam. That’s not right; The device has only one camera.

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