The doorbell, like the landline, is increasingly on its way out. Being in a specific place at a certain time is just not how digital nomads roll. In the past few years, US companies such as SkyBell and DoorBird have offered solutions to the problem of having to be home occasionally by developing doorbells that connect to your smartphone, so you can converse with the deliveryman, passing pal or burglar, whether in or out. The UK’s newly launched Ding, though, is one of the first to do it with a design finish that doesn’t scream “home security paranoiac with own laser trip wires”.
Avril O’Neil and John Nussey, the husband-and-wife team behind this comfortingly doughy brass button connected to a soothingly rounded cloth speaker, have raised double their original funding round on Kickstarter, with two weeks still to go.
After a century of frankly glacial progress, it seems the way we answer the door is finally changing. Here are some other recent innovations.
Facial recognition: Chui
Chui is a facial-recognition system that works with smart locks to automatically grant entry to those with the right face. While the promotional material is swish, it’s not quite out of its testing phase yet. Given that even those ePassport gates still rely on a man in a booth manually checking the camera image, that wait may be some time.
Doorbells for pets: Pebble Smart
The Internet Of Dogs has been a long time coming, but with Pebble Smart, canines can finally join us in our maddening new wired world. It’s a pad dogs press with their nose in order to activate a series of chimes that can be heard in the house. A doorbell, basically. It’s a doorbell for dogs.
Ornamental doorbell: Bottoms Up
Designer Peter van der Jagt recognised the deep shame most of us feel around having a little box with a magnetic coil to tell us when people are at the door, and decided to do something about it. His Bottoms Up is a pair of wine glasses with a small mechanical hammer between them, which can be placed on a coffee table as an objet d’art. When someone buzzes, it responds with a cool, crisp, crystal “ding”.
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