For a suggested retail price of $49, you will be able to ensure every move you make is captured on video. The palm-sized camera MeCam under development at Always Innovating Inc. will follow you around and take videos of you and your friends. You will be able to post these videos to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or any other social media site.
Always Innovating calls the MeCam a "self-video minicopter" in the video below. The camera can be operated by voice command, or it can be programmed to hover around you automatically. It has two autopilot algorithms and a Morpho Inc. video stabilizer. You upload video by streaming it to a smartphone or tablet.
The palm-sized MeCam, based on open-source software, will follow you around and shoot video. (Source: Always Innovating)
Details about the hardware are sketchy. Always Innovating says on its website that the MeCam has 14 sensors and three stabilization algorithms, offers "one-click true panorama," and works without a remote. The company did not respond to our requests for interviews or information.
In a press release unveiling the device in January, Always Innovating says the MeCam is run by a Cortex-A9 SoC. This ARM-based, low-power processor comes with up to four cores. The release doesn't says how many cores the device uses, but it does say the SoC module runs at anywhere from 1.0GHz to 1.5GHz, depending on configuration. That's a lot faster than the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 CPU, a measly 468MHz ARM9. The Cortex-A9 SoC module also includes 1Gbyte of RAM, an SD card, Bluetooth, and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi.
But that's just the hardware. What really piqued my interest is the fact that the MeCam uses open-source Linux-based software. That seems a lot like the robot operating system we discussed in May. Always Innovating says on its webiste that it's not going to manufacture the MeCam. Instead, it is licensing "the device and its core module." If I were in robotics, I'd like to see what I could do with open-source software (especially a robot operating system) and a tiny quadricopter design platform. Of course, it depends on the licensing cost.
Right now I wonder if there is actually anything besides one prototype, and how much additional support does that prototype have beyond what we are seeing. There does not seem to be enough space to carry enough battery power to support all of the smarts claimed for this platform. Not that it wouldn't be a fun toy to have, but I would not wish to tie up my smartphone controlling a toy like that. But a flying camera that could also perch and stare could be either quite useful or lots of fun, and if it had it's own controller then it would be really something. Better than X-Ray vision by quite a bit, in fact.
And as for that back and forth string of insults about creation, my suggestion is to do a detailed study and examination of the DNA system, in the light of fundamental thermodynamics, and then look at the tables of values of energy required for various chemical bonds. Once you understand that, it becomes very evident that unless the basic laws of physics and thermodynamics ran backwards long ago, DNA did not just randomly assemble itself. Really, just consider what happened from an engineering point of view and consider what was required to produce the results that we see.
And looking at that little hand held model, where is there enough battery to fly it for more than a very few minutes?
I just had a lengthily discussion with one of our engineers about this kind of tech. There could be a long learning curve on how to deal with all the issues that this opens.
I read the 'gun ownership, second amendment' stuff on this thread and I personally fall very far to the side of my rights are not up for discussion. And I feel the gov is constantly looking for ways to control law-abiding for no good reason. Plus, they will use anything that they can to justify going for that control. Ask Bloomberg whether I should be allowed to buy a 20oz soda if you need proof of their control-freakiness...
If you think guns create a problem, how about sicking the drones on someone from miles away. Isn't that what Holder said Obama is entitled to do... even to Americans... on American Soil... given some super secret reason... (National security don't ya know)
The discussion I mentioned above was more about the use of swarms of low cost drones (this tech) coupled with a desire to do evil. Distance would no longer matter, and traceability no long applies as it has in he past. The cost of investigating certain crimes will potentially go through the roof; especially for lesser crimes (Fuhgeddaboudit)
In short... bad people are the problem. Not the technology.
But look for any type of private ownership of drones, flying spy-cams, or like that to come under gov scrutiny over the next few years.
Permits, background checks, unique identifiers... and big fines/jail time for not have the correct collection of papers to allow possession of drones. It'll be gun laws plus tax. And btw, just like an extra-large soda... drones are not covered by the Constitution.
This is a very interesting post. Great job Ann. My grandkids think I'm older than dirt and just about as interesting as brown grass but, I can see applications that might be more beneficial than just following someone around all day. Of course the amazing thing is the mecatronics involved and functionality of the device. We seem to develop products such as this in a smaller and smaller package. That has to be valuable in a constructive manner at some point and with applications unthought-of of relative to original intent. Again, great post.
D. Sherman! UNLESS you think you know me personally, I see NO reason why you would advance such a comment! Maybe you'd be better off READING & LISTENING MORE than speaking & writing!!!!
I offered my comment ONLY because I've walked the face of this Earth for many decades, and I've seen the "highs" in life, and I've seen the "lows" in life, and I can assure you that I DON'T subscribe to the viciousness or deviancy that I've seen. So, please in the future, confine your comments to ones of substance, NOT conjecture!
Perhaps the way the Creator communicates is through the laws of physics, and specifically through the physical constants used in those laws. There is no reason why the exponent in the denominator of the law of gravity needs to be "2", but it's very convenient that it is. The same hold true of most of the physical constants. If they were much different than they are, heavy elements would not be stable, or stars would burn out quickly, either of which would be problematic.
It's not radio, and it's not a booming voice, but it could be communication. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), it's pretty hard to deduce from the laws of physics how the Creator feels about gun control, gay marriage, capital punishment, foreign wars, flag burning, and the other political issues of our day.
The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. Design News will delve into this territory with next week's Continuing Education Class titled, “Introduction to Linux Device Drivers.”
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