Remember Piper, the crowdfunded home automation tool we featured almost half a year ago? Well the campaign is over and the gadget is on sale now. Once you get yours in the mail, you'll need to set it up and start using it, which is where the official Android app comes in. Piper Mobile is a free download, compatible with all Android devices running Gingerbread or later.
Piper is a little gadget that combines a wide-angle webcam and microphone with a Z-wave controller. The WiFi-connected box allows you to view your home from your phone, pan the camera and listen in to the mic, making it a relatively inexpensive security camera or pet minder. There's also a 105 decibel siren and a motion detector that might scare off a robber. The Z-wave controller can interface with compatible lights and appliances, controlling them manually or through various pre-set rules.
The app itself is pretty impressive, giving live readouts of data such as ambient light and noise, motion, temperature, and humidity, and it allows you to set the rules for behavior and notifications. The interface is surprisingly effective for so many functions. An event log will keep you up to date on the daily happenings while you're gone, and you can choose to be alerted by text message, phone call, email, or a typical push notification.
Piper starts at $239, with some discounts available for multiple camera units and Z-wave automation accessories. There are no monthly fees for accessing your hardware.