60 seconds with a simple but smart home monitoring device

There are already plenty of ways to keep an eye on your abode from afar, so any new home monitoring product better have a fresh approach if it wants to stand out from the competition. For start-up Form Devices, the goal wasn't to create an elaborate, connected home security system that did more than existing products, but to make something simple, affordable and user-friendly. And, it must've done something right with its Point home monitoring device, which cruised past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal just two days after the campaign went live, and is now participating in our Insert Coin competition at Engadget Expand. The plain white, palm-sized puck hosts sound, humidity, temperature, air quality and particle sensors, but no camera. This was a very intentional omission, not just because Point is supposed to be small and inconspicuous, but so users have peace of mind that nobody will ever be watching them.

Point connects to the net via WiFi, and using Android, iOS and web apps, you set up rules of when it should notify you. These notifications can obviously be delivered to your smartphone, but a speaker and multicolored LEDs on the device itself can also be triggered when appropriate. Point uses raw data from its sensors to, for example, let you know when a rebellious guest is smoking cigarettes in your apartment when they're not meant to. What's much cooler, however, is that it can combine information from multiple sources to make more intelligent calls. If it hears a crash that's within a certain sound frequency, say, and then records a sharp drop in temperature, it will notify you that it thinks a window's been broken. As this is handled by Point's software, it can only get smarter with future updates, and its apps are compatible with IFTTT protocols and the Lockitron keyless lock.

Point is completely wireless, running on standard double AA batteries and easily mounted to a magnetic plate that, itself, is simply affixed to surfaces with double-sided tape. Under normal conditions, it'll last a year without needing a battery transplant. Point's Kickstarter campaign is still running, with a pledge of $79 scoring you a unit, though you may still be able to get one for $69 while early-bird stock remains. Some beta models will ship out in April 2015, with final production units expected to reach all backers by the end of next summer.

Engadget Expand: 60 Seconds with Point

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.