Turn Old Smartphones into a New Security System

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Rico is a cute colorful dog shaped device packed with motion, temperature, smoke, carbon monoxide and humidity sensors.

The companion Android and iOS apps let you view sensor related stats at a glance and receive alerts based on security, safety and environmental triggers. You can also stick an old smart phone in this plastic puppy hub to tack on HD camera, microphone, loudspeaker, 3G and WiFi capabilities.

Starting at $99 Rico is compatible with Android 2.2 and higher and iOS 6 and higher. The blend of sensors and smartphone functionality takes Rico from a sensor kit to a more complete, Piper like all in one home security system.

Rico is not the first one of its type. The Manything app is one example. This free iOS app takes an old iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and converts it to a security camera in minutes, complete with "night vision".

The free Presence iOS app is pretty similar to Rico bit it does provide details on energy usage to help you save money on your monthly bill. There is also Bemo. If you have an old Android or iOS device collecting dust you can turn it into a new thermostat.

Turning a smartphone into a smart home device is a really intriguing option, particularly for people who don't want to spend a fortune on home security. With Rico being $99 is seems a bit pricey since your old phone is really doing all of the home security lifting, but it does add the sensors which is a nice touch.

MindHelix is also working on Rico compatible plug accessories called Smart Sockets. You can use the same Rico app to control Smart Socket connected lamps, coffee makers and other small electronic devices.

Prices for a single Rico unit start at $99 and $110 for one Rico unit and one Smart Socket.

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