Alarmingly Creative: Different Uses for Security Technology
Alarmingly Creative: Strange Uses for Security Technology
Millions of Americans use home security systems exactly as the name implies: to help protect their families and belongings from threats such as break-ins, fire and carbon monoxide leaks. At the same time, a number of people have found some more … let’s say creative … applications.
Sometimes the engineers who design the devices come up with new ways for the technology to benefit consumers. Other times it’s the consumers themselves who find an inspiration.
Here’s a look at some inventive, unconventional and sometimes downright strange uses for security technology.
Many security systems feature door and window sensors to help homeowners protect entryways from intruders. (If the homeowners are also parents, the sensors can help them keep tabs on their children’s comings and goings as well.) Some enterprising security providers have taken the concept a step further by suggesting an additional use as a deterrent to underage drinking.
The concept is simple: Take a sensor that can alert you when your front door is opened and instead put it on the liquor cabinet to alert you when that door is opened. Using the same premise, the sensors could also stand guard over medicine cabinets, gun safes or anything else with a door and potentially dangerous things inside.
In October, CNN reported on the popularity of the Dropcam. Users can connect the small device to a wireless network, then sit back and watch live streaming video on their phones or tablets. In some cases, the Dropcam is used for home security purposes – although maybe not intentionally.
According to CNN, one Dropcam user added a twist to the security concept by catching his dog on video starting a kitchen fire in his apartment. The dog had, somehow, turned on the stove. Instead of contacting YouTube, the owner called neighbors for help. The fire was extinguished and the dog was saved.
For its part, Dropcam mentions these capabilities on its website: “Ever wonder what the dog does while you’re out? Or why the remote is never in the same place you left it? Find the answers with Dropcam!”
This example – a true golden oldie – comes from a 1938 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine. The headline says it all: “Fire Box Traps Pranksters.”
At the time, a newly developed emergency call box included a feature that can be seen either as ingenious or horrifying. To send an emergency alarm to the authorities, a person had to reach a hand inside the box to turn the signal dial. Once the dial was turned, a handcuff-like mechanism would trap the person’s hand in the signal compartment until a firefighter or police officer arrived to unlock it.
The intent is obviously sensible – to discourage false alarms. Still, you can’t help but wonder how the designers made sure that the responding officer would actually have a key.