The Home Front: Protecting our privacy in increasingly smart homes – Montreal Gazette
As our homes become Ã¢â¬œsmarterÃ¢â¬ï¿½ and more connected Ã¢â¬”ÃÂ the garage door talkingÃÂ to theÃÂ securityÃÂ camera, which talks to the light switches, and all of them, including the vacuum cleaner, interfacing with our smart phones Ã¢â¬”ÃÂ issues surroundingÃÂ privacy and security are forefront in the design process.
Ã¢â¬œPrivacy and security is such a huge thing with any product thatÃ¢â¬™s collecting any data, regardless of those that are beaming it out to devices or across devices, so itÃ¢â¬™s somethingÃÂ weÃ¢â¬™ve spend a lot of time on and a lot of money and effort making sure the security is there,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ says Rob Green, a senior design engineer atÃÂ Dyson, andÃÂ one of the designers behind DysonÃ¢â¬™s newÃÂ 360 Eye Robot vacuum cleaner.
Eighteen-years in the making, and a product that involved Dyson partnering withÃÂ theÃÂ Imperial College of London, the Eye RobotÃÂ uses SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) to make detailed floor maps of anyÃÂ room it enters by taking 360 degree photos (at 30 frames per second).
Ã¢â¬œItÃ¢â¬™sÃÂ almost like an old sailor using star charts,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ says Green. Ã¢â¬œItÃ¢â¬™s looking at the top of a door frame or bookcase or picture and going OK, thereÃ¢â¬™s a very strong defined corner, IÃ¢â¬™m going to mark that down and as I move forwards IÃ¢â¬™m getting closer to that point and further away from this point I marked behind me, so I know these are obstacles IÃ¢â¬™m approaching or moving away from.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
Questions surrounding privacy come up, says Green, because of the robotÃ¢â¬™s camera and the fact that the maps it generates (showing where itÃ¢â¬™s cleaned) can be viewed on the userÃ¢â¬™s devicesÃÂ byÃÂ downloading an app.
Ã¢â¬œThe images we get asked a lot about because obviouslyÃÂ you do have this camera recording images within your home,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ says Green. Ã¢â¬œActually the camera and the memory and all of that is kept very separate from what people can access from the data thatÃ¢â¬™s beamed to the cloud if you will.ÃÂ ItÃ¢â¬™s only keeping those images for as long as it needs to analyzeÃÂ them and then deleting them off so thereÃ¢â¬™s no record on the machine of those images when the robot goes back to the dock, it wipes all of that off.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
For $1299.99 consumers can have this robot do their dirty work from anywhere in the world.
Ã¢â¬œLetÃ¢â¬™s say youÃ¢â¬™re on vacation in the Caribbean and youÃ¢â¬™re about to board the flight and you want to come back to a nice clean house, you can hit start from your phone and the robot will go off and clean it,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ says Green.
Interacting with our homes, remotely, will be even easierÃÂ this Fall, with the new Nest Cam Outdoor.
Ã¢â¬œWe wanted to lower the barrier for people to get an outdoor camera to begin with, something that so far has only been associated with high end homes,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ saysÃÂ Rocky Jacob, head of industrial design at Nest. Ã¢â¬œInÃÂ order to do this, we chose a differentÃÂ path by enabling people to install theÃÂ outdoor camera themselves without compromising the features.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
The camera has a magnet base, around which it pivots, allowing it toÃÂ stick to any metal surfaces (such as window or door frames) and doing away with the need for tools to install it, saysÃÂ Jacob.