Aura’s Digital Age Security

Surpassing outdated audio and motion-sensing models, the new device picks up on patterns in radio waves to detect disturbances.

To help me understand how the home security system Aura is fundamentally unlike other models, Taj Manku proposes a thought experiment. Manku, the cofounder of Aura’s parent enterprise, Cognitive Systems, asks me to imagine a pair of glasses that reveal the full electromagnetic spectrum. If I put them on, I’d see a mesh of radio waves—the invisible conduits of our hyperconnected society. Then, Manku continues, picture a person, cutting through them. “It’s a visualization of the world we live in,” Manku says, “from a very different perspective.” Aura, which was unveiled at this year’s CES, is intended to sidestep many of the privacy and technical concerns about camera- and audio-based security systems. Rather than light, Aura “sees” radio waves. Disturbances trigger the alarm but, because patterns of interference are not created equal, it is also able to distinguish friend from foe from ceiling fan. This summer, another emerging name in contemporary home security, Scout Alarm, will reveal its own spin on Aura—releasing a product that will combine Aura’s detection method with Scout Alarm’s sleekly designed hardware and customizable functionality via smartphone app. Peace of mind at your fingertips? Imagine that.

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