A company co-founded by former Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal is launching a new smart home hub that can learn from the preferences and interactions of users. Sense, created by Silk Labs, can connect with other smart devices in the home and adjust settings automatically depending on who is home.
While users can adjust controls for their connected devices manually via the Sense app, Silk Labs says the beauty of Sense is that it learns from users' preferences over time, thanks to "intelligent" software that uses facial recognition and Bluetooth LE proximity sensing to determine when someone enters or leaves the house, and who that person is. Over time Sense learns the faces and patterns of different users, allowing it to adjust things like light and temperature settings depending on who it sees is in the room.
The always-on camera is smarter than your average lens too – Silk Labs claims that it is able to determine between animal and human, as well as those of guests, meaning it won't sound the alarm if it sees your pet and/ or friends in the room.
Also noteworthy is how Sense stores information. Rather than sending data to to cloud, the system uses hardware-based encryption, meaning recorded video and other information is kept on the device itself. This makes it completely impossible for anyone not in possession of your Sense device or connected smartphone to see your data, its creators claim.
Sense is compatible with a range of connected devices including smart lighting solutions from Philips Hue and LIFX as well as home systems like the Nest thermostat and Sonos speakers, with Silk Labs promising further compatibility to come. What's more, the company claims the system requires minimal set-up – simply a tap of the app and you're on your way.
Since appearing on Kickstarter on Tuesday (16 February), Sense already has 400 backers and achieved more than $89,000 (£62,000, €79,000) of its $100,000 (£70,000, €89,000) funding goal. It's hardly surprising why – alongside Gal, Silk Lab counts Firefox OS co-founder Chris Jones as well as Qualcomm's former Senior Director of Technology, Michael Vines, amongst its founders. Pledging $225 (£157, €200) to the project will secure you one Sense device, although you shouldn't expect to receive it until December 2016.