Archive for the ‘surveillance’ Category
If we referred to an Apple or Android army, you might assume we’re talking about a legion of brand-loyal fanboys, with which most Engadget commenters are intimately familiar. Defense contractors, however, are trying to turn the US Army into a lethal Apple / Android force with soldier-centric apps. Harris Corp. has a tablet app in the works that allows soldiers to control IP cameras on UAVs for more pertinent intel on the ground while simultaneously sending that information to command centers anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, Intelligent Software Solutions aims to bring mapping mashups to the battlefield (no purpose-built device needed) with an app that combines smartphones’ geolocation with historical data to show troops what’s been going down in the area — from IED explosions to insurgent arrests. Best of all, these apps lower training costs since most warriors are already fluent in Android or iOS and the consumer handhelds can be cheaply ruggedized to replace the more robust $10,000 units in the field today. Should protective measures fail, the devices’ (relatively) low replacement cost makes them “almost disposable.”
In a new milestone testing the limits of convergence, Samsung has just released a WiFi-connected robotic vacuum cleaner with an integrated “TangoView” home monitoring system onto the unsuspecting families and pets of Korea. Like LG’s Hom-Bot, first seen at CES in January, Samsung’s latest Tango cleaner (model VC-RL87W) features an integrated video camera that lets PC, smartphone, and tablet owners treat the vacuum as a remote controlled surveillance camera when not sweeping the floors. The relatively quiet vac operates at 48dB and features a microphone and external lighting. Why? Why not, we say, assuming you can get past the KRW799,000 (about $711) price tag.
You might know them for seemingly ridiculous innovations like Segway shoes or the HRP-4C pop star robot, but the folks at AIST have put away the gimmicks for their latest invention — a full-color night vision camera. Produced by Nanolux, an arm of AIST, the camera uses a series of algorithms to read and process wavelengths reflected by objects lit with infrareds, allowing it to successfully reproduce reds, blues, and greens in the darkest of conditions. The company hopes to make the device available by the end of 2011 at a price point lower than conventional night vision cameras, and says they will work with different lenses to improve long-range photography for the device. Such an invention could have serious implications for fields like surveillance and wildlife observation, but fear not, AIST hasn’t lost its sense of humor — the company used a Bullwinkle figurine rotating on a Lazy Susan to demo its latest invention at Printable Electronics 2011. Check out the video after the jump.
SoCal mall installs ‘Find Your Car’ kiosks in parking garage to help you find your car — and others find you?
Big Brother’s watching us on public streets and in our homes, and now he’s fixed his gaze on shopping malls — under the guise of helping us find our cars in a mall parking garage. Santa Monica Place has installed Park Assist’s M3 Camera Vision system with “Find Your Car” kiosks that allow wayward shoppers to punch in their license plate number to receive a picture of their auto and its whereabouts. It utilizes a network of cameras to capture each car’s location and read the plate, and has a central control system that can dole out firmware upgrades as more (nefarious?) needs arise. A similar system is used at Heathrow Airport, though the British version snaps a photo of your plates upon entry and and tracks cars with infrared cameras — as opposed to Park Assist’s use of hi-res cameras to capture an image of your plate once you’ve parked. While helping people find their cars is an admirable goal, the system seems rife with opportunities for abuse because the footage is privately owned — meaning the car location information could be sold to anyone, including that crazy ex-girlfriend of yours. As for us, we’d rather not exchange a walk-on part in the war to maintain our privacy for a lead role in another video cage. We’re just fine remembering things the old-fashioned way, thanks.