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Talking Mirror, Pirate Skull Security System 125

junger writes "Themeaddicts, owned by a Hollywood animatronics guru famous for doing the T-rex in Jurassic Park, has created a home security system with a talking mirror (complete with floating head), talking pirate skull, and talking toucan. It informs the homeowner of things like a car coming up the driveway or the jacuzzi reaching the right temperature, and it turns into a surveillance camera."
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Talking Mirror, Pirate Skull Security System

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  • by Centurix ( 249778 ) <centurix&gmail,com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:00AM (#15754709) Homepage
    "There's someone prettier than you walking up the driveway, preparing poisoned apple now..."
    • "There's someone prettier than you walking up the driveway, preparing poisoned apple now..."
      From the summary:
      talking pirate skull
      Wouldn't that be more like: Arrrr! Thar's a carrrr over tharrrr!
  • Murray? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bombcar ( 16057 ) <racbmobNO@SPAMbombcar.com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:08AM (#15754724) Homepage Journal
    Murray? Is that you?
  • But does it run on Linux?
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:27AM (#15754765) Homepage Journal

    Mirror, mirror am I stoned?
    Your image is now goatse.cx guy,
    My home security must be pwn3d

  • That reminds me of James Earl Jones, in "Field of Dreams"

    "Oh, my God, you're from the Sixties! Out! Back to the Sixties! Get back! There's no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!"

    Tell me that mirror is not drug inspired.
  • by fbjon ( 692006 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:35AM (#15754781) Homepage Journal
    It turns into a surveillance camera as the jacuzzi reaches the right temperature?.. o, I want that! Can I take screen caps?
  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:40AM (#15754794)
    I'd like to see one with the Half-Life 2 G-man's face.

    "Intruder in the driveway. The catapult is standing by. It's time to choose..."
    • That'd be cool. Although the inimitable tones of Rod Serling would be great. Especially if he provided running commentary on your life.

      "A man enters a room. He flicks on his personal computer. A seemingly innocuous visit to Slashdot soon becomes a journey into... The Twilight Zone."

    • I'd like to see one with the Half-Life 2 G-man's face.

      "Intruder in the driveway. The catapult is standing by. It's time to choose..."


      More like "In-truder in the driveway. The cata-pult is ssstanding by. It'ssss time to choossse."
  • by Orrin Bloquy ( 898571 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:41AM (#15754795) Journal
    "We're amazed ourselves at the innovation we've pioneered here," Barr said when demonstrating the "Talking Pirate Skull" mounted on a wall plaque. When the reporter mentioned "Billy the Talking Bigmouth Bass," Barr let loose a stream of profanity unheard of outside a Tourette's ward.
    Don't forget the article's mention of the cutting edge RS-232 technology it employs.
    • That reminds me, down in the basement with the other Halloween stuff I've got a Talking Skull. Cost about $5 in a post-Halloween sale. The jaw moves when it's speaking (I wouldn't exactly call it synch'd), and voice is provided via an included microphone and cord.

      Replace the mike with a cable to a computer's sound card, prerecord some messages, and away you go.

      (And speaking of Billy Bass, didn't Linux Journal or maybe one of the hardware hobbyist magazines a couple of years back run an article on how to w
      • I agree, while the execution is probably top notch given the background of the inventor, it's still a basic automaton responding to a number of preset conditions.

        Until there's a fair dose of AI in there, it's still nothing more than a Billy Bass with more bling.
  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:42AM (#15754802)
    ...you see the headline "Talking Mirror, Pirate Skull Security System" and immediately think it's about a filesharing mirror site that talks.
  • How handy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mingco ( 883841 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:45AM (#15754807)
    I don't know how many times I've wondered what temperature my jacuzzi was, and wanted a parrot to deliver the news!
  • by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:45AM (#15754808) Homepage
    Unfortunately, the thing fails to notify you of slashdotting...unless it screams in pain O_o

    Master, you site has been linked on slashdooooAAAAAAAAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHH KIIILLL MEEE AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHH OH THE PAIIINN
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:46AM (#15754811)
    ...quick hide ye movies, the dreaded RIAA have pulled up broadside!
  • Step by step... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:49AM (#15754816) Homepage Journal

    Yes yes yes, shiny gadgetry to do little of import.

    On the other hand, it is "kewl", and could evolve into some genuinely useful stuff.

    For example, a friend came home last weekend to find his live-in elderly mother, already incapacitated by a stroke, had been lying on the floor for 3 hours after a bad fall. If a house system had been able to identify someone was unmoving in a non-stationary part of the house it could have informed him, supplied images to his cellphone, tied into his intercom system to communicate with her.

    (Yes, there are all sorts of other things to be done for his mother, and he has, including an emergency-call amulet - she didn't use it. The point is these technologies could move into these areas improving them)

    For another example, an former boyfriend of mine has a condo in a resort area several hours from his primary residence. Setting up a webcam to monitor it visually was an obvious step towards maintaining the home, but a "smart" system that could make limited 'decisions' such as thresholds for activity before alerting him, monitoring temperature or water levels, etc. would be quite valuable. Yes one can really geek out now and do it with X-10 etc. gadgets but he's not, he's just an average fella willing to spend a few bucks on some easy to install/use package for his vacation home.

    Then there's the partner-factor. If the significant other isn't comfortable having it in the home, using it, then it's a no-go. If putting a friendly interface on it makes it that much more usable then that is, as Martha would decree, "a good thing".

    Personally I'd love a front door "window" that would direct package deliveries to my always-home neighbor, display to religious proselytizers an animated rendition of them (complete with inserted photos of their faces) dropping into the pits of hell, and inviting everyone else to record a video message that will be relayed to me. Allowing me to respond with unlocking the door or lawn sprinklers as appropriate would be a cherished upgrade!

    • For example, a friend came home last weekend to find his live-in elderly mother, already incapacitated by a stroke, had been lying on the floor for 3 hours after a bad fall. If a house system had been able to identify someone was unmoving in a non-stationary part of the house it could have informed him, supplied images to his cellphone, tied into his intercom system to communicate with her.

      Or, say, recorded it to video, set it to "Yakety Sax" and uploaded it to YouTube before submitting it to Fark.

    • I bow to your obvious geeky deviousness!!!
      That truly Rocks. Kudos to some very good uses of now tech!
    • "Yes yes yes, shiny gadgetry to do little of import. On the other hand, it is "kewl", and could evolve into some genuinely useful stuff."

      While I like your points on tech like this to do things of importance. I think that quite often, people rush to put down things that really ARE just for fun like this system. Sometimes people are too serious about life....

      I think some things that are shiny, and fun for the sake of being fun are great....life is way too short not to enjoy things just for fun, and

  • by Lazbien ( 788979 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @12:51AM (#15754820)
    It'll be interesting, though, to see this in mass production. All of the sudden, Joe Average and his generic home alarm will be rocketed forward into the 21st century. Suddenly, the "Home of the Future" will have a toe-hold with the Late Adopter market segment.

    How cool would it be when AI technology progresses to a point to interface with something like this? All of the sudden, the kid-sitting industry will taper off. Of course, we'll need to avoid any HAL like behavior.

    Husband: "Open the car-bay door, HAL."
    HAL: "I'm sorry Dave, I cannot do that..."
    Wife: "I told you not to hire that cheap garage door repairman... And stop calling it a car-bay."
    Husband: "I'll go get the Yellow Pages."
  • Call me back when it involves a ninja
    • Pirates? Ninjas?

      This thing ought to look like what it really is - the real life MAX HEADROOM !!!

      (Anyone here not too stoned to remember the '80s?)
  • Better (Score:5, Funny)

    by POKETNRJSH ( 944872 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:03AM (#15754840)
    I'd rather it talk to someone who breaks in. I mean if I walked into some guy's house looking for something to gank and all of a sudden the mirror was like "What are you doing here?" I think I'd be gone FAST.
    • Re:Better (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      make it more agressive than that.

      fire strobes while yelling Get the F*** Out

      or for a more subtle psychological attack play a generic "master, an intruder was detected--preparing countermeasures now. ready in 67 seconds
    • I would just gank the mirror. But that's just me.
    • What if it were YOU who talked to the intruder. Just send your ugly mush from you phone's camera, to the mirro, and you could tell the nere do well what you thought of him 'in person'.
    • Ellen [wikipedia.org]? Is that you?
    • Re:Better (Score:3, Informative)

      by Inode Jones ( 1598 )
      Already done.

      AlarmForce is a security company doing business in Canada with just such a setup: if the system detects a break-in, then the burglar is put on intercom with the monitoring station. If he can't convince the folks at monitoring that he should be there, then they just wait for the cops to come.
    • Re:Better (Score:3, Funny)

      by mutterc ( 828335 )

      Adapting an old joke:

      Mirror: "I can see you, and so can Jesus!"

      Burglar: "Who cares, you're just a mirror."

      Mirror: "Maybe, but Jesus is a rottweiler!"

    • Talk to him? If you can make it do that, why not come up with a way to make it silently alert you to the fact that it detected an intruder? That way you can decide whether or not it's really a burglar, and if so, kill him. No sense in letting ambulatory garbage like that get away to rob someone else.
  • by poppen_fresh ( 65995 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:08AM (#15754853)
    For video and audio clips of the mirror, you can go straight to the company's website [themeaddicts.com]
  • that is much more impressive [electronichouse.com].
  • For "very expensive" costs who would actually go an install this toy like system in their home? I mean I can imagine people doing it just for laughs but how much of this can you take day after day. Long after "the wow effect" wears off wouldn't you rather have an attractive blond animatronic over some bonehead?
    • "For "very expensive" costs who would actually go an install this toy like system in their home?"

      While this might be very expensive for you and I....you gotta remember, there are a LOT of people out there that make a LOT of money, and that $19K is basically pocket change to them.

      And I gotta say..if I was in that category, I'd have one of these on order right now...

      :-)

  • from TFA: The devices communicate via RS-232. Even mice dont us rs232 commonly any more. Seems like the author just wanted to include some techno-babble to impress the average joe reader. It loses its effect on the average joe slashdotter. In other news, The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) releases the newest revision to the RS232 standard; RS-232-C... Ah wait that was 1969!!
    • Re:High tech..? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gordonjcp ( 186804 )
      from TFA: The devices communicate via RS-232. Even mice dont us rs232 commonly any more.


      But every *serious* switch, router, bridge or other piece of networking gear does.

    • The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) releases the newest revision to the RS232 standard; RS-232-C... Ah wait that was 1969!!

      What's your house made out of? Wood? Brick? Pfft - I see you're still using "neanderthal" construction materials. Me, I live in a house made with carbon nanotubes. Sure, it gets cold in here in the winter, but nanotubes are new, dammit.

      ...mice dont us (sic) rs232 commonly any more.

      True, but scads and scads of equipment in factories and laboratories use it - and personally, I'm

    • Re:High tech..? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Secrity ( 742221 )
      I don't know why the interface was mentioned in TFA, but RS232 was not a bad choice.

      RS232 (does anybody actually call it TIA232-F in conversation?) is robust, easily interfaced, well supported, commonly available, and cheap. RS232 is also quite fast enough for human-world device interfacing.

      Many things have changed since RS-232-C was revised in 1969; there has been a name change and it is up to revision -F.

  • The Voice! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yogurtron ( 623880 )
    Not only is it cool, Basil's voice is Tony Jay! Freaking Megabyte from Reboot!

    (or at least that's how it sounds)

    Sry for the fanboy thing, just... so freakign cool, now if only they had Megs as the avatar too, he was always trying to take over mainframe, taking over a house isn't a bad start. Make the Mirror look like a vid-window too, heh.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does it turn into a surveillance camera only after the jacuzzi is at the right temperature? That filthy, filthy man!
  • Superstitious Nuts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tekoneiric ( 590239 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:53AM (#15754946) Journal
    I have a friend that lost her black polydactyl cat when some nuts thought it was a witch cat and killed it. A talking mirror might just make people like that try to burn your house down with you in it.

    I would love to have one, I would just not show it to unstable nut cases. It kind of reminds me of the technomages from Babylon 5.
    • Sounds like you need to find a whole different set of friends/associates!
      Or maybe start taking your meds again...I dunno.
      • There are a lot of nuts out there. Many of them are highly religious and superstitious. You need to get out of the computer room from time to time and you'll see. If I could take some meds to make them go away I would but more likely it would just make me not care that they are there. I'd rather know about them so I could avoid them. Believe it or not, those of us that aren't religious and superstitious are in the minority.
    • Obviously you shouldn't live near the psychiatric ward. Or you should field a complaint to the police for letting the loonies out or whatever.
  • Fake? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Watch the videos. Also, why is there no more pictures of the technology? I have never seen any screen that looked like a perfect mirror while it was "off". It seems that this alone could be worth selling.
  • Mirror mirror on the wall, whos the geekiest of them all?
  • Luxury? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jandersen ( 462034 )
    Is this really what people in general think of as 'great' and desirable? A house where you hardly have to move to achieve anything, with loads of electric and electronic gadgets that can do it all for you? To me it seems like what I call stupid luxury: luxurious things that you don't need, which will in the end make you less able to function on your own.

    Take a thing like the microwave oven and the ready-made meals: A great thing because now you can try out a huge range of dishes that you would never ever be
    • Well, if that is what floats your boat, go for it. If someone else wants TotalAutomationVeryLikelyToTakeOverTheHouse, more power to them. I don't see how your different desires affect each other's.
      Not everyone agrees that gardening, cooking and browsing /. makes for a wonderful life. Some people, like me, find some activites, such as gardening or cooking, a waste of time that could be devoted to something enjoyable, maybe gaming or going to the gym or... There's a reason why they are called "house chores".
    • The keyword is "options".

      I can cook great dinner. I'm pretty good at cooking and treat it as kind of art, rarely following a recipe exactly, inventing my own dishes, which are often quite good. But if I come back home from a trip at 10PM and hungry as a wolf, I want to eat something fast. I open the microwave, throw in a crappy pizza I picked at the 24/7 on my way home, and have a ready meal in 2 minutes. If I had to artfully create each meal I eat, it would get boring really fast. I cook when I want someth
    • Is this really what people in general think of as 'great' and desirable? A house where you hardly have to move to achieve anything, with loads of electric and electronic gadgets that can do it all for you? To me it seems like what I call stupid luxury: luxurious things that you don't need, which will in the end make you less able to function on your own.

      Miles away, a magic mirror comes to life and addresses Bill Gates as he lies on his hover-bed...

      Mirror: Master, a thousand apologies for disturbing you,

  • Where's the holographic floating head?

    you have to have one of those in your house
    or at least a holographic Robert Picardo
    that way when your life sized t-rex maimed somebody the EMH could sedate them
    that way the trespassers/victim couldn't sue ...what you do with the sedated body i have no idea
  • Droid Eye! (Score:3, Funny)

    by JensR ( 12975 ) on Friday July 21, 2006 @04:26AM (#15755250) Homepage
    Was it in return of the Jedi where Luke talks to the Droid Eye at the entry door of Jabba's palace? Now that I have a house I'm really tempted to do that. A cheap USB webcam, some servo motors, a speaker... Will be fun to mess with unwelcome visitors.
    • Don't forget to make it shoot out a few inches in the direction of the visitor/intruder and say, "Choo co BAK chi!" :)
    • Was it in return of the Jedi where Luke talks to the Droid Eye at the entry door of Jabba's palace?
      [comic book guy voice]
      No, it was R2-D2 and C-3PO at the door to Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi. Luke, being the most powerful Jedi ever, was able to simply open the door and walk in.
      [/comic book guy voice]
  • You can buy one from Philips:
    Company website (UK). [philips.com]
    Developed years ago. Nothing new.
  • and talking toucan
    I saw that on The Incredibles.
  • I want one of 3PO telling me what the odds of me poking my eye out when trying to open a can of beans.
  • I can't help but to post about a haunted house my friends and i have been building for years, using speakers, a printer port, some motion detectors, some pneumatic valves, a java proggy to listen to the printer port fed by xml, and some optoisolated triacs.
    if you want to check it out, its here
    http://www.bapudi.com/yabbse/index.php?board=7 [bapudi.com]
    the only thing I can't figure out is how they'd integrate PAL into the screen, anyone?
  • DIY mirror? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Would it be possible to do this yourself using a "2 way" type mirror with an lcd monitor behind it?
    When the lcd backlight is turned on,the image is visable, otherwise you would see your own reflection. Could it be that simple?
  • by Gleng ( 537516 )
    I'll get one of these when it can show Holly from Red Dwarf's floating head.

    Holly: Alright, dude.
    Me: What is it? I'm busy.
    Holly: I can't remember now, I've gone blank.
    (A few seconds pass...)
    *KABLAMMO*
    Holly: Oh yeah, that was it. Brace yourself, a meteor's about to hit the house.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I keep remembering a local incident where an alarm in a bar/club went off at 0500 on a Sunday, well after closing time. Some deputy sheriffs showed up and found a door open so they searched the building. As one of them came around a corner he encountered a wooden indian statue, complete with raised tomahawk, and promptly shot it twice (good grouping too right in the chest).

    The other thought that comes to mind is when I installed my own alarm system at home. Everything was wired and worked OK, then the voice
  • I always thought the basic white box with an angled glass cover were rather boring....
    If I were to have security cameras in my house, I'd go for the cameras used in the
    Bond movie Live_and_Let_Die [wikipedia.org].
    Having a rotating skull with top hat seems much more fun.

  • Mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney you're under arrest.
  • This is marketing suicide. Bloody fools are missing the whole Walmart demog here.
  • Can I get a talking parrot that says "Jesus is watching you"?
  • Forget how well the security system works. What homeowners want to know is: "Is it skinnable?"

    Step 3. Profit.
  • Because when a pirate skull appears in the mirror and informs me that the jacuzzi is ready, I know I want to jump right in.
  • If you are forced to have a houseguest you aren't too keen on, don't tell them about it. Just let them encounter the talking face in the mirror when they get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!

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