Camera which 'detects break-ins before they occur' being developed by Edinburgh start-up

Home security firm Boundary is developing a “groundbreaking” camera which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to spot potential intruders.

Boundary is set to bring its smart home security alarm to market later this year. Picture: Contributed
Boundary is set to bring its smart home security alarm to market later this year. Picture: Contributed

The Edinburgh start-up is teaming up with academics at the University of Edinburgh to create an affordable home security camera capable of determining whether or not a person has malicious intent.

Co-founder Robin Knox said the camera would act as the tech equivalent of a “private security guard”.

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Boundary will work closely with the university’s chair of computer vision, Robert Fisher, to design a machine vision-based system which can classify events taking placing on the grounds outside someone’s home.

It will be trained to recognise suspicious behaviour and ask anyone acting in this way for identification. If the person refuses, the camera’s video feeds will pass over to a human operator for verification and intervention.

The project is being part-funded by a Smart grant – funding awarded by Scottish Enterprise for projects deemed to be highly experimental.

The tech start-up is aiming to reach minimum viable product status for its AI camera before the end of 2020, with the intention of achieving a commercial launch in 2021.

Boundary is set to bring its first product, a smart home security alarm which offers police response when installed professionally, to market later this year.

'Massive potential'

Knox said: “There is currently no technology like this available in the home security market in Europe, so we believe this has massive potential.

“Machine vision and deep learning is the future and we want to make it available to the masses. Our aim is to make this AI camera affordable so that every home can have the equivalent of their own private security guard round the clock.”

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Radim Tylecek, currently a research associate at the University of Edinburgh, will join Boundary as a machine vision specialist, while Derek Liddle, an ex-Honeywell engineer who worked with Boundary on its first product, will head up electronic design and assist with tech selection for the camera.

Knox added: “At the moment, owners of outdoor security cameras can monitor activity via an app and push notifications. However, because these camera systems aren’t ‘smart’, they can be prone to alerting homeowners to false alarms by harmless things, such as cars driving past.

“After a while, these false positives can cause owners to become desensitised to notifications and they could stop taking them seriously.”

“Our camera, which is for external use only, will be able to tell the difference between an innocent shadow in the garden, and a brazen thief determined to steal your personal belongings.

"We want this camera to detect break-ins before they occur, by identifying and engaging trespassers before they become burglars. The homeowner will also be notified of any incidents.”

The camera will be compatible with Boundary’s smart alarm and can be controlled via the app.

Knox and co-founder Paul Walton are the duo behind intelligent payment system IPOS, which was acquired by Swedish payments firm iZettle in 2016.