WHYTELEAFE, England – A British schoolboy was set to earn up to £250,000 ($410,000) after inventing a doorbell that fools burglars into thinking somebody is home at an empty property, The Mail on Sunday reported. Laurence Rook, 13, from Whyteleafe in southern England, is the inventor of Smart Bell. The device dials a homeowner's mobile phone when pressed, allowing the homeowner to talk to whoever is at their front door. The invention uses an inbuilt SIM card and existing cell phone technology, and emits a small amount of white noise to give any unexpected guest the impression that they are speaking to someone inside the house on an intercom system. Laurence has sold 20,000 of the devices and is finalizing a deal with a telecommunications company for a further 25,000 units. He stands to earn up to £250,000 from the deal. "At first I designed the idea because my mum was fed up going to the Post Office to collect deliveries made when we were not at home," he said. "When I started to develop the Smart Bell, I realized it could also be a great burglar-deterrent. Most opportunist burglars ring the doorbell first to see if anyone is at home, but Smart Bell has the perfect way to counteract this. If you are out and a burglar comes up to your door and rings the doorbell, after ten seconds Smart Bell will ring through to your mobile phone and you will be able to answer," he added.
Don't get me wrong here, it's a pretty neat idea, and I'm totally jealous that some nose picking teenager is about to get rich, but I just don't see how this is a deterrent to criminals? Are robbers in England just more proper and polite than burglars here in America? Seems like its expecting a lot out of a smash and grab criminal.
You're assuming that A) They'll ring the bell to make sure no one is home, and B)They'll hang out on your porch for 10 seconds until you can answer the door with your cell phone. Neither seems likely.
Think about it, what good can come from ringing a bell as a burglar? What if they answer the door, how do you explain wearing all black with a woman's panty hose over your head as a mask? Good luck trying to pretend your a mormon spreading the world of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints.
And as for B, even if they did ring the bell, wouldn't they barge right in after no one answered, I mean how long do you think a man in a robbers outfit can hang out on a porch without getting noticed by neighbors. They're not hanging out on your porch hoping to leave a voicemail, they're already in the house by the time you answer the phone.
Plus I feel like this is asking your average citizen to be a lot more tech savvy than they really are. I have a hard enough time getting my mom to pick up her cell phone on a regular basis, nevermind if someone was calling from her front door, she'd probably just go on ignoring that. And what about grandparents? Like they're going to have any clue what's going on here? I can't even imagine the hilarity that would ensue when some 80 year old on his morning walk around the mall gets a call from some burglar at his front door. The poor robber would probably go insane just trying to get the guy to understand the situation, repeating himself over and over again so the guy can hear him, explaining how the technology works. It's enough to make any burglar snap.