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.
I'd be willing to bet that as soon as someone "technical" in the porn industry gets a whiff of this device, the managers of those facilities will be on the phone w/ their cadre of attorneys figuring out how they can adapt this technology for their own sordid purpose!!!!!
The prospect of widespread consumer use of these mobile cameras will intensify the privacy discussions already taking place around the domestic use of drones.
While I can envision some fantastic opportunities for productive uses, I think we can all imagine the more base uses for which these will certainly be used. And it is those invasive/exploitive uses that will drive outrage, reaction and legislation and test our individual rights.
For example, if one of these is flying around your head while you are out in public spaces, recording your every move without your permission, do you have the right to swat it out of the sky to protect your privacy or even the quality of your life? Or is that destruction of property?
As one commenter suggested, can you shoot one out of the sky over your property? There will most likely be products designed to counter this unwanted surveillance, i.e. mini anti-aircraft batteries that shoot paintballs to coat the camera lens, or epoxy to gum up the rotors; or even search-and-destroy aircraft of the same scale. Will it be legal to use these products to thwart the would-be chroniclers of your life? Or again, would it be destruction of property?
We may soon look back nostalgically to the days when mosquitoes were the most annoying airborne pests...
So, the Creator assigns us rights? How are they communicated? Radio? (care to characterize the frequency, modulation mode, etc.?) Booming voice? Little voices in your head? And assuming one receives such "messages" how does he autheticate their source? If I phone the bank and ask to transfer $10 from my savings to my checking account they take great pains to verify it's really me.
If your source is ancient writings you have the same problems.
Remember, this is a forum for discussing mainly science and technology, not hocus-pocus.
These type of devices were shown on local news telecast about a week ago. One family continually is peered down upon in their back yard while they are swimming or having an activity on the lawn. It seems to me if you have a no trespassing sign on your fence that it should extend to the air above your home. I understand the police, local law enforcement, and/or Feds is a different story. I don't feel it is lawful to be videoing over someone else's property without their consent.
I'm thinking of taking the 2nd ammendment in a different application to remove unwanted copter above my home if it happens. It would be like shooting skeet....PULL :-)
Nothing personal, but you make an uninformed mistake when you state the constitution gives you any rights. Rights are given by your creator (nature). The second amendment merely sates the federal government shall not make any laws to infringe on this right.
Lets be realistic: Youtube is full of ox-droppings, and this can only contribute more of the same. In the real world, this device won't be used for serious purposes. The first place I would expect this gimmick to be put to use is in the womens locker room.
Chuck, Maybe I'm caught up in the marketing hype but I like the idea of this as a consumer product: the MeCam. I can definitely see this flying around the house or office, "spying" on friends, family and co-workers. At $49, the price point is not that bad especially if it flies well. The military market is already full of this kind of equipment and they only want the best.
Chuck, that sounds like a much better idea than a flying paparazzo...I was thinking also that a military application might be good, or other types of surveillance (although not where they might be people around, as they would probably notice a flying camera buzzing about!). And what Ann said about it being a design platform for other applications actually makes more sense than what it was actually designed for. Although I'm sure some people will find this quite cool to have their personal paparazzo shadowing them. :)
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