Smart Home Camera Recognizes Faces

    08 May, 2016

    A French company has designed a camera that recognizes faces and tells people if a stranger has entered their home.

    Many homes now have security cameras that tell owners if someone has entered. But the cameras do not know if the person is a family member, friend, delivery person or a criminal.

    But a new camera made by a company named Netatmo has facial recognition software that can tell parents at work that their children have returned from school, or that a package has been delivered to their home. It can also tell them if a stranger has entered their home.

    Janina Mattausch is a product marketing manager for Netatmo.

    "Current security cameras are not that smart. So, they can tell you if something is moving but they don't necessarily know if it's a human being or, ah, if it's your kids -- they don't know the difference, so they will alert you all the time."

    When family members enter a home, the smart camera "recognizes" them and sends information to the owner's smartphone. The owner can choose to see the video then or later. But if an unknown person enters a home, the camera will send the owner an alert that will cause an alarm to sound on the owner's smartphone.

    That is what happened recently to a smart home camera owner named Damien. He lives in Paris.

    "On a Friday I was at work, attending a big monthly meeting when my phone vibrated. At first I told myself ‘Oh, it must be a wrong alert, maybe I have to do some adjustments' -- but the notification on my phone was telling me that there was a movement in my flat and also a face that the app did not recognize."

    He watched the video and was very surprised by what he saw.

    "I saw a person I did not know with his shoes on, which is totally forbidden in my apartment. I was watching it live on video. So I felt totally frozen, stupefied. I asked a colleague to take me back home as fast as possible and I called the police on the way."

    Damien showed the video of the intruder to the police. The criminal was found later that day. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.

    I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.

    VOA Correspondent Zlatica Hoke reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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    Words in This Story

    alert – v. to give (someone) important information about a possible problem, danger, etc.; to warn (someone)

    facial recognition – n. the ability to recognize different faces

    vibrate – v. to move a device back and forth or from side to side with very short, quick movements

    adjustment – n. a small change that improves something or makes it work better

    flat – n. (Chiefly British, European) an apartment typically on one floor

    app – n. abbreviation for "application," a computer program that performs a particular task (such as word processing)

    forbidden – adj. not permitted or allowed

    frozen – adj. to become unable to do or say anything

    stupefy – v. to shock or surprise (someone) very much; to cause (someone) to become confused or unable to think clearly

    intruder – n. a person who enters a place illegally