Hubble Hugo Smart Home Camera Knows How You Feel

Hands-on with the Hubble Hugo smart home camera

The Hubble Hugo is a different take on a smart home security camera. For one, this Alexa-enabled 360-degree camera is meant to be placed somewhere other than a corner of the room. And, it can read the expressions on your face to know if you're happy or sad, and can take action based on your mood.

The Hugo Smart Home Monitor could be considered a friendlier version of Sauron's all-seeing eye; activated by sound and motion sensors, the top half of the Hugo rotates so that its camera points at whoever it detects. If that's a bit too creepy for you, a large eyelid can slide down, blocking the camera.

A Camera With All the Feels

What makes Hugo stand out from other security cameras is the awkwardly named Emotionanalytics engine. This cloud-based platform can look at a person's face and tell, to a reasonable degree of accuracy, if they're happy, sad, angry, or pleased. It does this by analyzing a number of preselected spots on your face, to see what relation they have to each other. Even though Emotionanalytics is in beta, it seems pretty accurate: I made a bunch of faces, from broad smiles to furious frowns, and the Hugo correctly identified my moods.

In a hypothetical scenario, the Hugo could be set up in a child's room; if it sees that the baby looks unhappy, it can send a message to the parent, or start playing soothing music. The Hugo also features facial recognition, so it can identify individual family members, or alert you when a stranger enters the room. And, like seemingly smart home device these days, the Hugo is Amazon Alexa-enabled.

MORE: This Alexa-enabled robot stole our hearts

Other sensors in the Hugo include ones to detect noise and temperature, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and far-field microphones with active noise cancellation — a must if you're planning to use Alexa. Hugo also has 3-watt speakers, and a 2400 mAh battery that will keep it powered for about 4 hours if it becomes unplugged.

The Hugo is one of the centerpieces of Hubble's connected home ecosystem, which is limited to a handful of security cameras and baby monitors. However, Hugo's Alexa integration lets you link it to a much wider range of smart home devices. 

Pricing and Availability

The Hugo should be available in the late summer or early fall, and will cost $299.

Outlook

Having emotional intelligence is the next step for smart home devices, and while the Hugo may not be successful — I'm not sure how many people want to be aware that there's a large camera staring them in the face (surveillance is best kept hidden) — the technology behind it is powerful. Just imagine: The next time you start crying, something like this could automatically order you chocolate ice cream from Amazon.

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