23-year-old British student Daniel McGrane has won an paid internship at Sharp after his SmartBell concept won an innovation competition run by the electronics giant. McGrane’s SmartBell is designed to connect your doorbell with your smartphone, letting you speak with visitors even if you’re on the other side of the world.
You can see who’s at the door from the safety of your sofa or leave instructions for a delivery courier even while you’re at the office. If you don’t want to be disturbed, you could leave a pre-recorded video message. It’s the latest in a long line of products jumping on the Internet of Things bandwagon — intelligent devices that can use the Web to communicate with each other and make automated decisions when necessary.
“I got tired of being moaned at by family members when not answering the door to receive their parcels so I thought about a range of possible solutions,” says McGrane about the inspiration behind his idea. “A bell that sends notifications to a smartphone was my first idea, and the idea to be able to video call whoever is at your door followed.”
It’s not a completely original idea, as regular Digital Trends readers will know. Last year a Kickstarter campaign launched based around a similar bit of tech, but it failed to meet its funding goal and has since disappeared. The DoorBot appeared way back in 2012 and has actually made it to market. Still, we can’t begrudge McGrane his win and his year’s internship — more details of his concept can be found on the official Sharp blog. Other competition entries included a digital, interactive family whiteboard and a sensor for detecting multiple allergies.