Vestavia Hills man invents 'Porch Pod' to keep pirates at bay

Patrick Campbell with his Porch Pod invention.

Like many, Patrick Campbell purchases items and has them delivered to his home. He noticed the rise in package thefts in his community and across the country, and he himself dreaded the day where an item he ordered did not make it to house. He knew there had to be a better way to get a package than having it sit on his doorstep, so he got to tinkering.

He came up with the Porch Pod. It is a weather- and tamper-proof container made out of 16-gauge steel. The way it works is that the device connects to the WiFi in your house, and when a delivery comes to your house, the delivery person scans the package's tracking code, and Porch Pod servers verify the delivery. If the delivery is legitimate, the device unlocks and the package can be placed inside.

To retrieve the package, you can use your smartphone or tablet.

"Having a device like this to provide some security and remove that crime of opportunity and the chance for somebody to make a quick hit and take an item, whether or not it is a real expensive item or an inexpensive item, it is still a really big hassle to replace," Campbell said.

The device is on pre-order right now and comes in two different sizes. The device can be anchored to your porch or secured via a cable lock. Campbell says a stolen package cannot be used to open the device, as once a package is marked as delivered by the carrier, software prevents it from opening a Porch Pod.

The first pods are expected to be shipped out in early May.

"It is really awesome to see a concept that you come up with through fruition and the trials and tribulations of developing a product and actually have your hands on the first few of them, and they really work is really rewarding," Campbell says. "It is great to know that I may be securing a loved ones birthday present, or maybe a big gift that somebody saved up on for months. Knowing that my Porch Pod can help keep those precious items secure really makes me happy."

You can find more information on the product here.