To catch a futuristic thief: Virtual machine guns, robo-security guards and drones will protect your

From burglar alarms that identify intruders, to robotic guards and even 'gun' turrets, homeowners of the future will have far more imaginative options to protect their property than today.

A report about the future of home security predicts a future that's a cross between the Minority Report and The Crystal Maze in which burglars would have to run a high-tech gauntlet to make off with goods.

For example, burglar alarms could shout at intruders by name, while indelible sprays could mark them out in case of escape, and drones could give chase.

The report, by future trends experts Futurizon, was commissioned by security company ADT.

In a survey, the Florida-based firm found only four out of ten people feel safe being at home, while one in ten believe their home is at greater risk today than it was only five years ago.

However, the report, authored by futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, predicts a plethora of hi-tech solutions will be available in as little as a decade's time.

In the short term, it envisages that tiny hidden cameras will soon be commonplace around the home and residential neighbourhoods and could even stop burglaries before they happen.

They would use facial-recognition software to spot known criminals and sound the alarm, in a scenario reminiscent of The Minority Report.

It forecasts the birth of an 'automated Neighbourhood Watch', where the new generation of intelligent alarm systems installed in homes will communicate with each other, collecting details of the behaviour of a suspicious stranger on the street or alerting others to danger.

More outlandishly, burglar alarms may emit a low frequency sound or high-intensity strobe light to disorientate intruders and force them to leave empty-handed.

The report said: 'Directional sound could deliver personalised warnings to burglars that they are being recorded and authorities aware.

'If they are known criminals, warnings could even address them by name.'

Inside the home, burglars could be stopped in their tracks by virtual security tricks.

Dr Pearson wrote: 'Machinegun posts, electric fences, mines and high powered lasers won't be permitted in the real world, but that doesn't stop augmented reality use.'

The technology could also be used to protect children's rooms in a fun way, while teaching the importance of security.

And while robotic security guards already exist, they will get cheaper, letting users monitor their homes remotely and open doors and turn lights off and on to make a house look inhabited, for example.

Elsewhere, smart 'polymers' on fences would trigger alarms by detecting pressure from anyone trying to climb over.

'Smart water pistols in gardens could mark any intruders with hard-to-remove chemical markers,' the report continued.

This would make it easy for the police to later identify culprits, if they managed to out-run the robotic security guards and drones.

The report envisages that low-flying drones will be able to follow the criminals as they make their get-away and capture video evidence.

These thief-tracking drones could be launched by security firms and the police from nearby rooftops to get visuals and even spray chemical identifiers onto burglars or any vehicles they use to escape.

Gail Hunter, a spokesperson for ADT, said: 'As technology continues to develop and become available, everyone will be able to make their homes almost impenetrable, without feeling like they're living in a fortress.'

( source )