Momo is a Robotic Smart Lamp You Can Talk ToBy - 05/09/2017
The first question I always ask when reviewing a Kickstarter is: What makes this product different? In Momo’s case, I’m not sure that the device is different so much as it covers a lot of bases. The device is in simplest form is a smart robotic lamp, but combines technology we’ve already seen from devices such as Angee, Amaryllo, and Hayo.
What is Momo?
Momo is a singular device that claims it will replace your security system, smart home hub, and smart lighting.
A Home Security System
The first major claim about Momo is that it will replace your home security system. While this first claim might be a little bit of a stretch, it’s certainly possible to use Momo for home protection, and it has the potential to replace your home security camera.
Momo includes a camera with 360-degree vision and night vision. It also includes a motion detector. If motion is detected, the camera starts recording to the internal storage device (16GB) and sends an alert to your phone. The device also sounds a siren and uses its light to let you know there’s a problem. When an event is detected, you can choose to receive a photo or a video stream which is delivered through the included mobile app.
Momo’s ability to detect motion is made more intelligent via two features.
First, the camera is robotic. Momo’s body is capable of rotating, though it also has a manual privacy lock. If motion is detected, the device will rotate to find movement. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a robotic tracking camera; the technology is already available through select Amaryllo devices and coming soon to Angee.
Second, the camera includes facial recognition. Different from facial detection, recognition can differentiate between friend or foe. With Momo, this is one piece of data gathered to enable a more intelligent response. The device takes action based upon who, where, and when things happen.
Momo also includes other security sensors like smoke, carbon monoxide, temperature, and humidity. It also has an intelligent sound sensor. This sensor will listen for sounds like breaking glass or smoke alarms. If it detects something, it will take the same actions as a motion triggered event: send an alert to your phone, flash your light, and sound the alarm.
Finally, the camera offers two-way audio. When connected to Wi-Fi, you can make and receive video calls
A Smart Home Hub
The second claim is that Momo will replace your smart home hub. Momo uses Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC (Near Field Communication). They claim that the device will work with Amazon Echo, Google Home, Philips Hue, Netatmo, Nest, TP-Link, IFTTT, WeMo, OSRAM, Arlo, Belkin, Ecobee, LG, Samsung, and more. They don’t specify whether these are direct integrations or IFTTT integrations. Regardless, it’s these integrations that provide home security value. For example, your Samsung SmartThings system might be connected to door sensors and motion detectors which are in turn connected to Momo.
Momo’s ability to function as a smart home hub is made even more intelligent thanks to facial detection, and it’s ability to learn. Via “Learn & Adopt Intelligence”, Momo learns your habits over time. For example, if you like to dim the lights, turn on music, and crank up the AC before you go to bed, Momo will take note and repeat this behavior every night. That is if you want it to. In fact, you can decide if Momo should follow the rule once, always, or never. On the other hand, facial recognition allows it to follow patterns for you and different patterns for your family members.
A Smart Light
Unlike other smart home hubs that are made to be tucked away, Momo hopes to be placed front in center in the form of a lamp. As a smart light, it can dim, and it supports four modes: study, relax, night, and living. It will also respond intelligently thanks to facial recognition. For example, when you enter a room, it might dim, because that’s your preference. On the other hand, your wife might prefer something brighter. You can also create light pattern rules using the mobile app, like a rule that makes it appear that you’re home, even when you’re not.
And yes, the light can do more than 50 shades of white, the bulb is capable of producing RGB color.
What makes Momo more unique than other devices isn’t necessarily what it does, but how you control it. In total, you have six options.
1. First of all, it can accept text commands. For example, you might text Momo that you’re leaving and in response, the device will adjust the lights and arm the camera.
2. If you choose to let Momo takeover, it supposedly has the ability to learn over time, both adjusting to your habits and preferences automatically.
3. Momo also offers a free mobile app
4. The device is capable of recognizing gesture control. With a flick of your wrist, you can adjust Momo’s brightness and light modes.
5. You can communicate with Momo via Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Skye.
6. Finally, Momo accepts voice commands, but don’t get it twisted, it isn’t an Echo. While Momo can receive commands, the device cannot talk.
So pass or back? I’m not buying a Momo. First, I believe they are being overly ambitious with their promises. They are asking for a mere $45,000 in funding, but promising features that are expensive to produce. Second, they’re attempting to deliver several features that others have already tried and failed to deliver. For example, read this article by Minut Point on why they nixed their smart smoke sensor:
When we surveyed the market for these kinds of sensors we were quite disheartened. Existing designs were prone to false alarms, not very precise and drifted over time.
And I’ve also seen the promise of control through Facebook Messenger recently fail.
Third, there are several important details missing. While I gathered as much information as possible, I still have a lot of questions. For example, what is the camera’s resolution? Does it have WDR or HDR? How many IR LEDs are included? How many Momos can one account support? Do they have plans for cloud storage? Can you turn the smart light on and off from anywhere or does it only follow rules? Which of the promised smart home integrations are confirmed versus which are pipe dreams? TBD
So I guess what I’m saying is back the project if you must, but don’t be too upset if you end up spending almost $300 on a device that doesn’t do everything mentioned above. Also, keep in mind that there is always risk involved in backing a crowdfunding campaign.
Momo’s campaign has 28 days to go. If you want to back the project, they still have a handful of Early Bird specials left. You can buy one Momo for $279 or opt for a bundle. Momo’s estimated retail price is $699.