Smartbell is the high-tech doorbell that lets you video chat with your visitors

smartbell doorbell 1

The doorbell is one of the simplest, smartest inventions ever, and the concept hasn’t changed much since its conception in the 1800s. Yet, it’s only effective if someone is actually home to hear it. A company in Las Vegas called Scrambled Brains Tech is aiming to evolve the lowly doorbell with an advanced solution called the Smartbell, which uses your home Wi-Fi and smartphone to notify you of who’s at your front door with sound and vision – whenever and wherever you may be.

The Smartbell app for iOS. It will also support Android.
The Smartbell app for iOS. It will also support Android devices.

When a visitor presses the Smartbell, the unit contacts you on your smartphone (via Wi-Fi) to alert you of someone at the door. Because there’s a built-in camera, mic, and speaker, you can activate a real-time video chat between the Smartbell and your phone (the Smartbell can be set up for multiple users). You can tell your guest to walk right in, or tell the deliveryman to leave the package on the front porch if you aren’t at home. With a motion sensor, the Smartbell can snap a pic of a visitor to notify you of who stopped by; they can also leave a message for you when you’re not home. One useful feature is that the display can be customized with special messages, like your house number, a do-not-disturb request, a note for the UPS guy, or when you might be home (although, for security, we would recommend against doing the latter).

The Smartbell unit contains a high-res camera with an infrared LED for nighttime use, motion sensor, touchscreen 320 x 480 display, doorbell button, microphone, and speaker. It works with iOS and Android via a dedicated app, and the company says you can get messages or enable video chats anywhere in the world, as long as you have Internet access. Besides Wi-Fi, the Smartbell is also compatible with Z-Wave home automation equipment like door openers, lighting, and security cameras. Oh, and yes, the Smartbell functions like a regular doorbell too.

The unit is easy to install. If you’re handy, you can self-install the Smartbell by mounting it using standard screws. The Smartbell requires 5V to 36V DC voltage, which is standard for nearly all home electric doorbells. Wi-Fi setup is as simple as finding your network and punching in your password. The company says the Smartbell’s software can up updated via the app, and there’s no monthly fee to involved.

Smartbell isn’t for sale yet, as it’s planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project (you can check out its Kickstarter draft). The company expects to retail the unit for $279, but it plans to have an early-bird special of $149, with delivery estimated for March 2014.  If you own a second home that you don’t frequent often, the Smartbell is a great solution for the times you aren’t there. Comparable solutions like this exist, but they’re expensive and involve complicated installation.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: AI-powered cat toys, wallets, and food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

The Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox app can't do it all, but it does allow you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Product Review

We never wanted a smart doorbell, until we met Nest Hello

You can answer your door while sitting on the couch with the Nest Hello smart doorbell, which brings vision, intelligence and convenience to your doorstep.
Smart Home

Add some nature to your tech with Mui, a wood panel that’s also a smart display

Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants -- or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
Smart Home

One in 10 smart home device owners report unresolved technical problems

According to a recent survey from Parks Associates, more than one in 10 consumers report they have experienced technical errors with their connected devices that have yet to be resolved.
Smart Home

New Nuimo Click gives one-touch control over smart home devices

Berlin-based technology company Senic has announced the Nuimo Click, a smart switch that harvests kinetic energy to power itself without the need for cables or batteries. The Nuimo Click will begin shipping in December.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Angee’s security service switches from sales to subscriptions

Angee, a successful startup that raised nearly half a million dollars for its home security hub, has pivoted its business model to offer its home security platform as a subscription rather than a smart home product.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Deals

Protect yourself from germs with a discounted GermGuardian air purifier

Cold and flu season has arrived, and with it, all those nasty germs. If you're looking to protect yourself from airborne illnesses, this deeply discounted air purifier can help reduce germs, mold spores, and viruses lurking in the air.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Smart Home

If you're not sipping beer while a robot mows your lawn, you're doing it wrong

Imagine watching your lawn being mowed by a robot while you sit on the porch drinking a beer. That’s life with Husqvarna’s line of electric Automowers, which takes the gas and the manpower out of one dreaded aspect of yard work.