The Portal Monitor is designed to be placed inside a home. It monitors activity across portals, such as the front or back door. Events (e.g., opening the door or ringing the door bell) trigger cameras that record images of both sides of the door. This positioning is designed to enable capture of the most salient features of the event – the physical status of the home occupant (clothing and apparent awareness) and the identity of the agent on the outside. These images are then sent as picture messages (text messages with attached images) to a pre-designated cell phone. A guardian or caregiver can then make use of a device with which they’re already familiar with and commonly have on them (e.g., a cell phone) in order to be sure their loved one has not left the building in a vulnerable state, had an encounter with a known threat, or been approached by an unknown party. When no events are taking place, the system conducts no surveillance. Therefore, human attention is required only when an event occurs. Minimal data are captured, and data deletion is in the hands of the caregiver. Data retention is similarly limited by cellular phone memory.
Student Researchers: J Duncan, William Hazlewood