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Wireless security cam Blink goes from sleep to recording in less than a second

Susie Ochs | Aug. 13, 2014
With a combination of its own silicon with its own software customised to squeeze out the most performance for the lowest amount of power, Immedia hopes the Blink system will solve the biggest annoyances of home security cameras.

The system defaults to 5-second recordings in response to the motion sensor or the onboard temperature sensor, but you can tweak that duration in the app, as well as check in on the cameras manually, of course. And the cameras don't stream the video up to the cloud; they compress it and send it up over Wi-Fi in one short burst. Because Immedia controls both the hardware and the software in Blink, Shulsinger told me that the system can squeeze up to a year of battery life out of each Blink camera. That's something I can't wait to test, but even if that estimate turns out to be high, it would have to be off by a lot to approach the battery life of a competitor named Butterfleye, which I saw in prototype form in May.

Like Blink, Butterfleye is a wireless, rechargeable, sensor-equipped security camera. Unlike Blink, it's totally self-contained, so it works without a sync module or other base station. But it also only goes about two weeks between charges, and costs significantly more--$199 to preorder, versus a current price of $69 to preorder the Blink. Along with a motion detector, Butterfleye uses iBeacon and Wi-Fi geofencing, plus thermal sensors, to decide when to record and when to stay asleep, while Blink focuses on power consumption by staying asleep most of the time and then "blinking" awake in a flash.

As of this writing, Blink has raised $535,000, far exceeding its original goal of $200,000. One of the stretch goals was a geofencing feature similar to Butterfleye's, letting the Blink system automatically arm itself when registered smartphones leave the house, and disarm itself when they return. (Or you can set a schedule if you prefer.) Butterfleye does have onboard storage so it can still record during a power outage, while it doesn't seem like Blink can store video in the camera module, and couldn't send it to the thumb drive attached to the sync module if a power outage takes down your Wi-Fi network.

Blink is on Kickstarter through September 3, with the first units expected to ship in May 2015. With a combination of its own silicon with its own software customized to squeeze out the most performance for the lowest amount of power, Immedia hopes the Blink system will solve the biggest annoyances of home security cameras--or at least convince the rest of the industry to consider Immedia chips.

 

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