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Courtesy of Lighthouse

More and more people are setting up cameras in and around their homes, but are they really getting valuable information from those devices? Lighthouse, a new Silicon Valley startup, doesn't think so.

All about AI: Lighthouse says that artificial intelligence is what makes its home camera system more useful than others. In addition to a camera, Lighthouse's device is outfitted with a 3-D sensor that captures a more detailed view. The company's A.I.-laden software is then able to detect specific people, pets, and movements.

For example, a user can open the companion mobile app, and verbally ask if their dog walker came by that day. Using natural language processing, Lighthouse then identifies footage of the dog walker and brings it up. Right now, however, the range of elements it can identify is limited to what the company has "taught" the software to recognize, though Lighthouse says it's continuing to add more based on user feedback.

Big brother: The idea of having cameras all the around the house can be off-putting to some people (like yours truly), and Lighthouse intends for its device to be used inside, not outside like some companies such as Ring. Of course, the cameras can be programed to turn themselves off when their owners are home, Lighthouse tells Axios.

The team: Co-founder and CTO Hendrik Dahlkamp was part of Stanford University's self-driving car team that won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005. He went on to sell two companies to Google and become an early employee of the search giant's X division. Co-founder and CEO Alex Teichman also worked on artificial intelligence technology for self-driving cars at Stanford, eventually leaving to become an entrepreneur.

From cars to smart homes: Despite meeting while they worked on self-driving cars, Dahlkamp and Teichman decided not to start their own autonomous driving startup because it wouldn't allow them to make an immediate impact on people, the latter tells Axios. Self-driving cars are years away, he says.

Funding: Since its founding in late 2014, Lighthouse has raised a total of $17 million in seed and Series A funding from Playground (Android co-founder Andy Rubin's incubator), Eclipse Ventures, Felicis Ventures, SignalFire, and StartX.

Go deeper

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.

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