Wouldn't it be great to answer your front door with a smartphone? That's the promise of Doorbot, a Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell that alerts you whenever someone pushes its button, sending audio and video to your smartphone.
[More from Mashable: Most Mobile Browsers Are Unsafe to Use]
The battery-operated device installs at your threshold with four screws in a bracket. Once you've downloaded its free app and synced any iOS device or Android smartphone with it, you can see and converse with visitors at your door. The app will alert you whenever the button is pushed.
There's a microphone on board the DoorBot that lets you talk with whomever's visiting you, even if you're thousands of miles away. The camera works at night, too, using infrared technology to allow a clear view of visitors even in the dark.
[More from Mashable: Twitter Denies Accounts Can Be Hijacked Via Text Message]
When someone presses the button on the DoorBot, you'll receive an alert on your smartphone. If you always have your phone nearby (and who doesn't these days?), you'll be able to instantly respond to visitors, or reject them without them knowing if you're home or not.
DoorBot is offered by a company called Edison Junior, and it's offering its device as a stand-alone product. Things get even more interesting when the company combines DoorBot with Lockitron, a wireless mechanism made by Apigy that lets you unlock your door from anywhere using a smartphone app. When Lockitron is combined with DoorBot, you'll be able to not only answer your door, but unlock it for those you authorize to enter your house.
What about security? Won't this shiny aluminum-clad gadget tempt opportunistic thieves? Edison Junior's CEO and Chief Inventor Jamie Siminoff doesn't think that's a deal-breaker. "DoorBot can be installed with four screws, but DoorBot comes with an included mounting bracket. Many homes have other items of value outdoors, such as lights, and should not be a cause for concern," he told Mashable.
The company says the technology used to power the video camera, microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity is highly efficient, with a year's worth of battery life for its four AA batteries.
Of course, that battery life depends on how many people visit you each day. Siminoff told us the batteries will last a year with an average of four rings each day. "If the user gets a lot of rings, about 5-10 per day, the DoorBot's batteries may last about 9-12 months," he says. But DoorBot is helpful in that instance, too. He added, "DoorBot will alert the user when the batteries are getting low so that you know to change them."
The DoorBot is a project on crowdfunding site Christie Street, and so far it's raised more than $16,000 on the way to its $250,000 goal, which is 44 days away. The price to support the DoorBot in this crowdfunding venture is $169, and CEO Jamie Siminoff says, "The retail price is not yet set, but planned to be over $200." You can also support the DoorBot with the app-enabled version of LockiTron for $319.
Lockitron was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and both products are due to ship in July, 2013. The company plans to show a working prototype of DoorBot at CES 2013 in January.
It's bigger than it looks here. It's looking good with that brushed aluminum cover.
This story originally published on Mashable here.