Don't throw away your old Android phones - now you can turn them into a home security system
Don't throw away your old Android phones - now you can turn them into a home security systemSalient Eye

Startup Salient Eye has developed an app that turns Android smartphones into security cameras that can instantly report back to you if anyone enters your home while you're away. The app is available for free via Google Play and works on any phone running at Android 2.2 and above.

It's scary not to feel safe in your own home. In the US alone, a home invasion happens every 16 seconds, according to 2013 statistics from the FBI, and up to 80% of homes do not have any form of security in place.

As most people may have an old phone lying around gathering dust, this is a good way the resurrect it with a purpose.

An affordable home security system

The system works by setting the phone to face an entryway, and when movement is sensed, the app triggers the phone to silently take photographs and then email them to you, as well as sending you an SMS alert.

Once the photos have been sent, the phone then triggers a loud and annoying alarm that cannot be turned off without entering the correct password.

The app also locks the buttons on the phone so that it cannot be turned off to bypass the alarm.

The photographs taken are encrypted and stored in the cloud, so only the user can access them. Every user is given an unlimited amount of storage space, but records are erased after a month unless the user downloads the data to their computer.

Of course, the app can't tell the difference between you and a stranger, meaning the alarm will trigger when you come home too. To counteract this, Salient Eye has created a companion app called Salient Eye security remote.

This app costs $10 for a year's subscription or $2 a month, and enables the user to remotely turn the system on and off before they enter their home, so that they don't trigger the alarm.

New segment to disrupt the home security market

"There are three segments in the home security market," Salient Eye's chief marketing officer Michele Aliverti-Piuri told IBTimes UK.

"One segment consists of full standard home security systems, which cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Then there are DIY systems that are put up on crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and cost between $100-$500.

"Then there's us. We want to disrupt all of this as our app is much cheaper. The technology we're offering is better than even the best alarm systems as you get photographs immediately emailed to you, which is something no one else is doing."

Salient Eye was initially launched as a home-made project in early 2014, but it has now racked up almost 200,000 downloads from over 100 countries via Google Play, while the sister app, Salient Eye security remote, has had 10,000 downloads since it was released a month ago.

The startup is now working on an iOS app that it hopes to launch in the next few months, and is talking to several studios about designing a holder to make it easier to prop up the smartphone.

"People are using the app in both first world countries and developing countries. They're telling us in reviews and emails about other interesting use cases besides home security, for example using the system to catch out cheating partners, or to spot animals in the wild while hunting," Aliverti-Piuri said.

"There is even talk about using the technology in healthcare as a way to monitor whether people having been taking drugs when they shouldn't be."