Smart Home System Senses Wi-Fi Ripples to Spot Intruders

Wireless signals, from your Wi-Fi router to the Bluetooth in your phone and headsets, are all around us, but they can be used to do more than just transmit data from one place to another. Cognitive Systems has developed a security system that analyses the signals emitted by every device that emits a signal in your home, and alerts you any time those patterns are disrupted.

How It Works

When a wireless signal is emitted from, say, your router, it disperses around your home in a predictable pattern. However, whenever you walk around your house, those signals are disrupted by your body.

The Aura, developed by Cognitive Systems, detects those disruptions from a base station (the Hub), as well as a satellite sensor, and sends an alert to the homeowner's smartphone. According to the company, its system, which monitors every wireless signal from 700 MHz to 4GHz, is sensitive enough to detect someone breathing, and can even tell the difference between a person and a moving mechanical object, such as a fan turning.

The system can be programmed to recognize individuals' phones, and be scheduled to turn on and off at certain times. The Aura is also compatible with IFTTT (If-This-Then-That), so that you can program certain actions to occur (like your lights turning on) when the Aura detects movement.

MORE: Our Favorite Smart Home Gadgets and Systems

Why You Should Care

The Aura is a pretty clever way of protecting your home without installing cameras and sensors all over the place, and could be a more cost-effective security system for some. For those wary of having someone tap into their security cameras, the Aura could also provide an extra measure of privacy, too.

Pricing and Availability

The Aura will be available for pre-orders starting January 5; For $499, you'll get the Hub and a Sensor, which should be enough to cover most homes. The Hub measures 5.4 x 4.3 x 4.3 inches, and can connect to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The satellite sensor plugs into any outlet, and relays its data back to the Hub.

Outlook

Apart from the immediate practicality of the Aura, Cognitive Systems' method of analyzing how wireless signals are disrupted by people walking around is a very intriguing technology. Expect to see it used elsewhere, and for other applications, in the future.

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