New AI Camera Technology Protects Users’ Privacy

Mandee Thomas
Feb 25, 2019 11:37:18 AM

Hundreds of new smart products hit the market every day. And while consumers are eager to put these innovative and handy devices to use, reports of privacy breaches and news stories of PR damage control from companies are cropping up just as quickly.

That's why the founders of Cherry Home, makers of a new AI system designed for seniors and at-risk individuals, have come up with a product that keeps the privacy of its users in mind, every step of the way.

The Cherry Home Goal

Officially launching in October 2018, Cherry Home was created based on the idea of helping people “feel completely safe at home.” And they mean this in every sense of the phrase: not only wanting to create technology with the aim of keeping users safe physically, but also protecting their privacy.

With all the concerns that have been raised in the security industry regarding privacy, it’s encouraging to see this kind of forethought given to a new piece of AI.

What Cherry Home Does

Cherry Home works as an in-home 24/7 surveillance system that learns the users day-to-day behaviors in order to spot anomalies in their routine. Sound a little creepy? Well, it’s actually a lot less intrusive than you might think.

Instead of using the exact footage of a person (or even their pets), the system generates stick figures based on their virtual “skeleton.” These renderings are created based on the length of a person’s limbs, gait, and posture, and replaces their form with that stick figure within the camera footage.

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Image Credit: Cherry Home

When unusual behavior (like a fall) is detected, predetermined caregivers are notified and sent the video clip of the incident.

Doctors and caregivers can also be notified of anomalies that may not be as imminent as a fall, but important nonetheless. This can be things such as “It has been 8 hours since Ellen has eaten,” or “Ellen has yet to return home today.” Contacts also receive weekly activity reports about their loved one in order to get an idea of how their faring overall.

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Image Credit: Cherry Home

How it Works

This new AI technology is on the cutting edge, and seems almost too good to be true. But there was a lot of development that went into this product in order to make it work.

Cherry Home is equipped with multiple sensors (including vision, infrared, and motion), microphones, 1TB of internal storage, an accelerometer, an altimeter, a compass, and a binocular battery-powered camera with a 165-degree field of view. The data that Cherry Homes collects is processed locally over a mesh Wi-Fi network to a companion PC where the data is saved and analyzed in “near-real time.”

Privacy and Progress

Privacy is a big priority for the creators of Cherry Home. And while there is always some level of risk when it comes to smart devices, the creators believe that this product is more secure than its competitors. Because all the video is stored and processed locally, instead of on the cloud, it makes it harder for outside forces to gain access.

Developers at Cherry Home hope to continue to expand the products capabilities. Stroke detection/prevention is one such capability that is on the horizon. The overall goal is to have an AI product that can anticipate a user’s needs.

Cherry Labs president and co-founder Nick Davidov says, “We want to be a fully integrated system. We want our system to think about what’s needed and then just do it without you having to ask.”

At a starting price of $1,800 and the added subscription cost of of $30 per sensor per month, Cherry Home costs a pretty penny. But, if the alternative is sending the user to an assisted living facility, the price can been seen as fair. Currently, these devices can only be purchased through certain senior care agencies and health care providers, but executives at Cherry Home say that a direct-to-consumer model may be on the horizon.

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