If you want to spy on your cleaners or your children, Pittsburgh-based Probotics has the perfect device for you: Spy-Cye, a robot that lets anyone with a PC and Internet connection check on their home from elsewhere. Program a path for Spy-Cye to follow, and the onboard video system records whatever’s going on. Log on to the website (www.web-bots.com) with user name and password, click on a room to view, and voilˆ, the screen shows what Spy-Cye saw as it made its way through your home.
About 5 inches tall and 16 inches wide, Spy-Cye ($995) can do more than snoop. A wagon ($89) that can tote up to 10 pounds turns the robot into a personal butler, and there are also vacuum cleaning attachments ($89 to $129). Spy-Cye goes about 3 feet per second for two to three hours before it returns to its unit for recharging. It can run 24 hours straight as a stationary surveillance camera.
For those homes already staffed with butlers and maids, a simpler device is available from New York City-based Xanboo. It offers a monitoring and control package with color video cameras, software, sensors and appliance control products. With a Xanboo account, you monitor your home through real-time video, time-stamped images, sensor updates and notifications by e-mail, pager, text messaging cell phone or PDA. The package, including one camera with a motion sensor, starts at $149. Both surveillance options can be used in the office, but Bill Diamond, copresident of Xanboo, admits employees might balk at cameras in their workspaces.