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Holy mistaken identity! Nest Hello doorbell pegs Batman T-shirt as intruder

Usually, when Batman shows up at your front door, something has gone terribly wrong. The Nest Hello, a smart doorbell with a built-in camera, certainly thought so when it identified the Caped Crusader approaching the front door of a Georgia man’s house earlier this week. In response, the system denied access. Just one problem: What the Nest Hello viewed as an intruder was actually just the homeowner in a Batman T-shirt.

B.J. May, a Javascript developer, tweeted about getting locked out of his home when his so-called “smart” doorbell mistook a graphic tee for an unknown and unwelcome guest. The situation came as a surprise to May, who said the system is only supposed to lock when it doesn’t recognize someone. It should have recognized him, seeing as he’s the homeowner, but instead, the camera saw his T-shirt and focused in on the Dark Knight.

My @nest doorbell automatically locks the front door when it sees a face it doesn't recognize. Today it didn't recognize me, so I went into the app to investigate and…

— B.J. May (@bjmay) September 17, 2018

According to May, the situation was more of a hilarious misunderstanding than an actual issue; he entered his PIN on the Nest x Yale lock that is paired with the camera and was able to open the door. He also mentioned that, in the unlikely event that he couldn’t use the PIN pad, he could also unlock the door from his phone app. There was never a need to call a locksmith to crack open the door — though the real Batman may have been able to help out with that.

“The door will not unlock if it sees a friendly face. That’s not a feature,” he wrote. “It just reacts to an unknown face by locking the door just in case you forgot to lock it and a stranger approaches. It didn’t recognize Batman.”

For owners of the Nest Hello or other Nest products wondering why their devices don’t also automatically lock their door like this, the feature isn’t provided by the device itself. Instead, May said he crafted a command using IFTTT, an application that allows you to link multiple devices and services to create new features based on specific prompts. In this case, when the Nest Hello spots an unfamiliar face, it provides a notification. When that notification is received, IFTTT tells Google Assistant, which in turn tells Nest to lock the door.

You can recreate the command on your own in IFTTT if you want, just be warned that Nest has had some technical issues with Hello in the past that caused notifications to be delayed.

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