Xentry: Transform your Spare Smartphone into a Smart Door
Reuse your spare smartphone to stream live audio/video over your WiFi so that you can communicate with visitors at your door.
If you’re anything like the average technology writer you’ll have a drawer full of old kit lying around the place, gathering dust. Well here’s what looks like a neat use for old smartphones that are still functional even if they’re no longer good enough to be your everyday device. Reusing tech kit so it gets a second life to extend its usefulness is obviously to be encouraged — and the plethora of sensors in the average smartphone mean there are plenty of options for use number 2.
U.S. startup, Xavage Technologies, has come up with one: it’s created a phone-housing-plus-app combo — which it’s calling Xentry — that turns an old iPhone or Galaxy S Fascinate into a door-mounted caller-display so you can see who’s at the door and communicate with them via the corresponding app on your own in play smartphone. The old phone is mounted on the inside of your front door, with a customised peephole attachment replacing an existing peephole lens, allowing the phone’s camera to spy on whoever’s outside.
The “smart door” system streams real-time video and audio over your home Wi-Fi network so no need to have a SIM in the door-mounted smartphone. Other features include the ability to disguise your voice when you respond to the caller at the door; door movement detection (using the phone’s gyroscope) so that you can set alerts if someone is trying to enter or exit the house; and a virtual receptionist feature to trigger a message when someone opens the door.
The app also lets you take still photos of the video of whoever is at the door, and supports zooming and exposure adjustment. Simultaneous connection to the door-mounted camera is also supported meaning multiple in-home smartphone owners can see who’s outside.
Xavage is looking to raise $200,000 via Indiegogo to fund production of the two Xentry models, one designed to house old iPhones (3GS/4/4S) and one for the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate. It’s unclear exactly what the phone housing will be manufactured from but presumably some form of plastic.
Charging the Xentry sounds like it may be a bit of a chore. The housing is designed to incorporate the phone’s charging cable but Xavage adds: “Backers are expected to use their existing charging plug and USB cable while Xavage provides a 15 feet (3 meter) USB adaptor cable.”
So, in other words, you’re going to have to plug a charger cable into the device that’s mounted to your door for at least some of the time. Unless the phone can easily be removed from the housing for charging. Still, for a little inconvenience, you’re getting a low upfront cost video caller door display — and reusing your old phone to boot. The cost per Xentry looks to be around $55.
Article by Natasha Lomas
Xentry is Xavage’s first product
- Your spare smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate or iPhone 3GS/4/4S.
- Our contemporary housing with patent-pending technology.
- KalaVision’s customized mobile app, Web of Cam: Xentry Edition.
Your Spare Smartphone
Xentry reuses your existing smartphone hardware to:
- Connect to your other mobiles devices via WiFi.
- Capture live video using the camera.
- Deliver two-way audio using the speaker and the microphone.
- Detect door movement using the accelerometer.
To get clear sound to and from the visitor outside, Xavage developed a proprietary, patent-pending audio transfer system that simplifies the electronics used. This system includes acoustic channels, customized peephole, and other sound enhancing elements.
Current designs accommodate the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4/4S, and Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate.
KalaVision is customizing its Web of Cam software to enhance the user experience for the Xentry application.
- Automatic camera discovery and pairing.
- Password protection for cameras.
- Simultaneous connection from multiple viewers.
- Zooming and exposure adjustment.
- The Xentry enclosure supports any iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, or Samsung Galaxy S Facinate. If there is a smartphone model you would like to see in a Xentry, go here.
- Power button extender allows easy access to your smartphone’s power button even though your smartphone is inside the Xentry housing.
- No tools required to install a smartphone into Xentry.
- Minimum iOS Requirement: iOS 4.3+.
- Minimum Android Requirement: Android 2.2, Froyo (API Level 8).
The Xentry is installed on the inside of your home or office, so there shouldn’t be any issue with theft.
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