‘Tis the season when families bring home the hottest electronics and gifts—and then go on vacation. Not a shabby set-up for would-be burglars. So, for kicks, we tracked down some of the most unique high-tech security devices, ranging from a mind-controlled robot dog to a personal helicopter drone. And in case you’re not a millionaire electrical engineer, we’ve thrown in some do-it-yourself tips to help you protect your new gadgets and gear.
Mind-controlled robot spy dog
Conventional dogs can scare aware away potential robbers while you’re not home, but this little tricked-out toy is more than man’s best friend—it’s an extension of man itself. Unlike a real live Fido, this remote-controlled gadget can show the owner what’s in front of it via camera, can project the owner’s voice in real time, and can be told where to go, not by treats or joysticks, but by brainwaves. It’s a gadget befitting a superhero villain.
Tip: To stop intruders right off the bat, upgrade your locks and strike plates by installing 4-screw strike plates and Grade 1 or 2 deadbolts.
Cell phone-operated locks
Everybody forgets to lock a door now and again. But not everybody has a remote system to control their locks with a cell phone and a text-messaged pin code that’s as encrypted as a password for a bank website. With this doozy, you can lock your doors or let in friends from anywhere that has cellular service. It can also notify you whenever the system’s been used.
Tip: You don’t need a cell phone to lock and unlock your doors. You just need to be careful. Before going anywhere—on a vacation or just a trip to the grocery store—make sure all of the locks on your doors and windows are functional and, you guessed it, locked.
Tweeting laser tripwire
No, it’s not science fiction. It’s actually possible to set up a laser trip wire that tweets when touched, and even takes a photo of the guilty party—though it takes more tech skills than money to build this Mission Impossible device, as is clear from the how-to on Instructibles.com.
Tip: They may not be as sci-fi fantastic as laser beams, but motion-activated lights are an effective way to deter break-ins. At less than $50 a light, they’re a cheap, real-world way to thwart would-be burglars.
Housed in a mailbox-like enclosure, this observant gadget can launch into the sky, record video, and return to home base all on its own—and it can be up and running within one minute of a security breach. (The biggest sci-fi fans could also use it for lightsaber training.)
Tip: Take basic security measures outside your house like locking your tool shed with a deadbolt. If your tools are easy to access, a burglar doesn’t need to bring his own to break into your home.
An added deterrent for the high-security home, this motion-activated fog shield acts much like the dance-floor variety, except it’s programmed to go off when an intruder is in close proximity. It won’t do much to stop the intrepid burglar, but in a tight enough space, the dense smoke might confuse them enough to second guess the heist—or break into an impromptu Macarena.
Tip: Whether or not you have an advanced security system, always remember to disable your automatic garage door opener and lock it before you go on a long trip.