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Rico Turns Used Smartphones into Home Security

With smartphones becoming more accessible across the world, smartphone sales are skyrocketing. However, the Environmental Protection Agency notes that most of these phones will end up in a dump or landfill, and will release harmful chemicals in the surrounding environment. But after your two-year contract is up, you need not throw your old phone out, you could turn it into a home security device with HelixMind's $99 Rico.

The Rico looks has a fun and playful design, but it contains a series of very serious multifunctional sensors for tracking your home. These include motion detection, a thermometer, carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector and humidity sensor. With the Rico side app loaded onto a used smartphone and the charger cables attached, your old handheld will work as a security camera, sound detector and as a Wi-Fi broadcaster.

Rico sends data through the smartphone to the Rico API cloud to a corresponding app on another smartphone. The Rico/phone sync up and begin tracking your house. The Rico is compatible with phones that use Android 2.2 or iOS 6 and above. Rico requires devices to have a 4.5" or smaller screen as well as a 6 mm headphone jack. 

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The Rico also syncs with a series of smart-sockets. These sockets let users control devices and to make sure they're turned on or off. The sockets track energy usage.

HelixMind is currently trying to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter to finish the first set of preorders. Backers can preorder just a Rico for $99. One hundred of the backers can preorder a Rico + smart socket for $100. All other backers will have to pay $139 for a Rico and smart socket. Most Ricos come in either blue, red or yellow. If a user wants, they can pay $119 to get a Rico in Kickstarter-exclusive green. Helixmind expects to deliver all orders of Rico by November 2015.

The decision to use the camera capabilities of devices like the iPhone and HTC Mate One as a security camera offers a flexible and reliable system for keeping your home safe. However, we aren't certain how accurate all the sensors are, or whether the Rico app can host the streams for multiple Rico devices. However, we are eager to find out.

Chris Hutton
Christopher Hutton has written on issues of technology, religion and culture for a variety of sites, including VICE, RNS and Tom's Guide. You can find his website at