“And now for something completely different” as Monty Python used to say. How about an “Interactive Home Monitoring Owl”?! Browsing YouTube’s recommendations recently, I stumbled across one of those Amazing Gadgets You Won’t Believe videos, and one of the featured products was the Ulo wireless security camera, by designer Vivien Muller.
Most security cameras tend to look rather bland, and are mainly designed to blend into their environment rather than stand out. Think of products like the Nest for instance, which although sleek and attractive, doesn’t really stand out visually.
The Ulo on the other hand not only looks great, but judging by the product video, looks like a real hoot to use (pardon the pun). It’s basically shaped like an owl and his a two way mirror that looks like a beak, hiding the night vision camera and motion sensors beneath. The main features of note however are the large LCD screens masquerading as the owl’s eyes, which it uses to communicate its status. For example, when the batteries need to be recharged, Ulo looks sleepy. It also blinks whenever a picture is taken using the smartphone app, and its eyes follow anything that moves. If anyone watches the live stream, Ulo will also squint cheekily.
It’s all incredibly fun, and makes a nice change to the usual raft of boring beige boxes around the house. Aside from the novel looks, Ulo has some fairly decent but standard specifications. For example, a live video can be viewed from the Android and iOS app (or via a web page), plus there is an alert mode that will email an image when movement is detected. Ulo’s “eyes” can also be customised using the app – colour, pupil size, and so on.
The device comes with a rechargeable battery that’s good for around one week, although it can also be left plugged in round the clock. Ulo will also come with an IFTTT [check out our quick guide] so it can be linked with other devices.
The design is obviously part of Ulo’s appeal, and something that makes it stand out from the competition, but it does offer quite a rich set of features in addition to being weatherproof.
You really have to watch the video to see Ulo in all its glory…I’m sorely tempted to order one…