Taking a page from Kevin McCallister's playbook in Home Alone, a landlord in Tokyo has developed a novel way for residents who live alone to feel safer. A tiny projector makes it appear as if there's another person in the apartment from the outside by faking a moving, shadowed silhouette on a window curtain.
In the movies, all you need to fool a couple of would-be home intruders is mannequins, cardboard cutouts, and a model train to move them around. But in the real world, the Man on the Curtain system, created by Tokyo's Leopalace21, has the potential to be slightly more convincing - if you choose the right video.
It's reminiscent of those flickering boxes that simulate a TV being on while you're away from home, or devices that randomly turn lights on and off. But instead of making an empty home look lived in, Man on the Curtain fakes a roommate to make those living alone appear like less of an easy target for potential intruders.
Each black and white video, which is played through a smartphone-connected projector, includes a full half-hour of original footage so as to minimise obvious looping that could give away the ruse. However, someone practising karate or boxing for 30 minutes feels a little forced.
Footage of more mundane routines, such as vacuuming or folding laundry, seems like it would be far more plausible and convincing. But even better would be a silhouette of someone just sitting on a couch watching Netflix for four straight hours. If you've ever lived in a crowded, expensive city, you know that's a far more accurate depiction of life with a roommate.
Leopalace21 hasn't started selling the system to residents of its apartment complexes just yet, but the company has apparently given away five prototype units for testing purposes, and it's accepting applications to gauge the interest and demand for a security product such as this.