These days, unless you're a wizard enrolled in Hogwarts, cameras are making it increasingly difficult not to be seen, especially within the confines of your own home.
The challenge is how to make sure your Wi-Fi security cameras and nanny cams aren't seen. Why would you want to alert a potential intruder that you're watching or recording them? So, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past week, clever engineers presented a collection of carefully camouflaged cameras.
Don't Look Up
Arguably the most disguised spy cam at CES was a camera that looks like an LED light—because it is an LED light. The Sengled Snap is a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb designed to be screwed into an in-ceiling fan. It integrates a 1080p camera with a 140-degree remote-controllable viewing angle. Snap can recognize your friends and family, and includes a motion detector with customizable motion zones.
Footage can be streamed live to the MySnap iOS or Android app, or stored in the cloud with a paid subscription.
A company called TikTeck is demonstrating Rover, a security camera mounted inside of a remote-controllable toy car.
Inside the compact Rover driver's compartment is a video camera that can be angled from zero to 40 degrees and can be remotely steered around your sanctuary with alacrity thanks to its gyroscope, four-wheel drive and 360-degree agility. While Rover operates independently for two hours on its battery, you can navigate it back to its wireless charging pad.
A number of other Wi-Fi camera makers are similarly disguising their latest outdoor security products - after all, why alert potentially nefarious visitors that they're being watched? Yes, they might be scared off when they see a camera, but then again, they may just wreck it instead.
To keep its camera/intercom covert, Kuna has mounted it in three different outdoor lighting wall sconces designed to be installed by your front door. You'll get an alert when someone comes within its motion-detection range, and then you can see and talk to whomever is approaching your abode; if your visitor isn't the kind who knocks, the app will let you sound an alarm.
If you've already invested in an outdoor light, Kuna is unveiling the retrofit Toucan, a Wi-Fi controllable camera that can be added to an existing outdoor fixture.
While Kuna can let you see what's happening on your porch, the Netatmo Presence offers a full HD infrared night vision camera with a 100-degree field of vision mounted virtually invisibly below a 100 to 120-watt floodlight that is bright enough to let you monitor and record what's happening up to 65 feet away.
The Presence is made of aluminum and IP66 rated to withstand sun, ice, rain and wind, and can be programmed to send alerts to your smartphone not only about approaching people, but also animals and cars pulling into your driveway. And the floodlight can be programmed to flash or light up to scare off potential intruders.
The Smaller the Better
Perhaps the best way to disguise a Wi-Fi camera is to shrink it. Blink's cameras are thin and just half the height of a smartphone so they can be surreptitiously placed nearly anywhere.
Blinks may be small, but they include night vision, a built-in mic, a LED light, a temperature sensor and an optional 105dB alarm which can be remotely armed or disarmed. They can record video to a microSD card or store up to two hours worth in the cloud, and can run on a couple of AA batteries for more than a year.
About the Author
Stewart Wolpin is a freelance journalist and longtime CES veteran. Stewart writes about consumer technology foreBay, where you can find all the latest electronic gadgets for your home.