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Microsoft develops wearable surveillance cam

BBC | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
Microsoft develops wearable surveillance cam

"A wearable camera full of sensors could help people with memory problems, according to Microsoft researchers. The prototype SenseCam takes an instant snap every time it spots changes in movement, temperature or light. Currently capable of storing 2,000 images on a 128MB memory card, the cam could help people record their days... 'SenseCam has been designed to act like a black box for the human body,' lead researcher Lyndsay Williams told BBC News Online. 'It was something I originally created as a method for helping my family find their keys at home. It's so frustrating trying to re-trace one's steps so I build a device which would help find a solution to this problem.' It also seems to be potentially the ultimate way to keep a visual blog, or diary, of your life... Future plans for it, said Ms Williams, include reducing its size, making it wireless and more power efficient."
Spot the lie... 17.Jun.2004 04:06

Tony Blair's dog

"It was something I originally created as a method for helping my family find their keys at home."

In the right hands... 17.Jun.2004 10:03

Bison Boy

Before writing this off as another tool of the oppressor, think what good a cheap, wearable, automatic, high-capacity cam like this could do to reduce police abuse at protests. In the right hands, this is a tool that could help guard liberty.

At one frame per second, this gadget would work for 33 minutes with no user intervention. Digital photos can be faked, sure, which makes its use as evidence against abuse a bit dicey. But video is much harder... and matching video from several points of view is really, really hard to fake. Ten of these among the hundred people nearest the front of a crowd of protesters would provide really good odds that some useful images of abuse would escape police control. And if the gadget can stream the photos wirelessly to remote storage, it'd be virtually certain that useful images would escape.

It's not an evil tool, we just need to get something like this in the right hands.

(Oh, and as for this guy inventing it to find car keys? That's so in character for a hacker that it's comletely plausible. I'm sure he thought about other uses, too, but I bet that really *is* why he made the first one.)

Right On, Bison 17.Jun.2004 14:03

cagey tricountycourier@centurytel.net

The knee jerk negative reaction to new tech by the anarcho community, be they left or green, often overlooks the fact that a hammer is useful to whomever needs to drive a nail. The hammer does not separate one from their reality that happens between one's ears.
The power of video was instrumental in documenting the motivation behind the murder of David "Gypsy" Chain in the Headwaters Forest in 1998. Although his murder remains unprosecuted (if you recall, the Humboldt Co. sheriff was making noise about prosecuting the forest defenders within 10 feet of Gypsy when the tree hit him for manslaughter), the existance of the tape instructs us all who were not there, and perhaps A.E. will face the tape in court someday.

for real 18.Jun.2004 02:15


I welcome any technology that allows people to archive events, such as this. However, one frame per second still seems a bit slow for protests, where things can turn volatile in a split second (imagine how long it takes for a cop to hit you with his baton; it's probably less than a second.), so your chances of hitting the "money shot" would probably be about 50-50, even if you are right there when it happens. Add the odds of you being in the right place at the right time to that, and multiply it by the odds of you facing the right direction, and there being enough light, etc, and you are looking at a pretty useless and expensive device. I mean, we have tons of people at protests already who bring camcorders and still can't get the GOOD shots of police abuse. The trick is getting people to learn how to effectively use the equipment that they already have, not buying new toys because they look cool.

If this device could up its memory capacity to, say, a few gigs, and record video instead of stills, then it might be worth something, but as of now, I think it's just a toy, albeit a pretty cool one.