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.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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...
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!!!!!
I know gun enthusiasts love to come up with applications for their weapons to show skeptics that they relly need to own them. (This case would present a great argument for being able to keep a .50 caliber machine gun in your yard. Maybe even an anti-aircraft missile.) However, before shooting down the little spy craft, have you consulted an attorney as to whether you have any legal recourse? Not so much fun as shooting your guns, but a bit more consistent with a civilized community.
not for myself of course (ahem!).... (note: that the end of humor for this post.)
Then I saw the comments, especially from the guy who already has some neighbor flying his spycam over the reader's home swimming pool. Presumably, the reader has daughters....
The reader mentioned something about a shotgun. I'd seriously consider taking that bird down one way or another. a 410 should do, but probably not in anything but a rural setting. Campus cops on at the small college near where I grew up were reported to carry salt guns. I don't know how much they cost or how loud their report, but they might do.
Finally, these copters can't get much altitude and still acheive the video resolution desired. Maybe you could get a fruit netting (e.g. to keep birds off fruit bushes & small trees, tie some weights around the edges and learn how to toss it in the air effectively.
A Long Postscript:
This reminds me of a company called X10 ~10-15 years ago. I learned of them because they sold some kind of PC/RS-232-controlled power switch, I think.
What sticks in my mind about the company though, is that the main image on their website advertised their remote control panning webcams. (this was in the pre webcam days, but that's basically what they were selling.)
Anyway, the site invariably had some (adobe) flash video of what a camera might see as it panned across some zone of property.
I_n_v_a_r_i_a_b_l_y, the panned region included a not-quite-scantily-clad-yet-way-far-from-dressed-for-winter (or even a warm autumn) teenage girl. By teenage, I mean maybe 15 or 16.
There was nothing in words to substantiate this, buy X10 clearly marketed these things at either teenage boys or heterosexual pedophile men.
I always surmised that the X10 CEO (or any management, for that matter) were men who either didn't have daughters, or didn't have families who knew how they sold product.
I have no sympathy for these things or people who operate them. Any voyeur tools coming near my property would be looking for trouble. And, I'd make sure that other neighbors became aware of the perps tools and activities.
More and more invention companies are getting really good ideas and turning them into profit. Most of these ideas are good if and only if the end use does not change (we are all good civilized honest hard working people right???). Does anyone here remember when cellphone cameras did not make a noise when snapping a picture. Did you wonder why the sound effect was added? Some states even have laws where a cellphone camera has to make an indicating noise of snapping a picture to inform people around it. Yes kids were getting these cameras and snapping pictures in the bathroom stalls, Gym dressing room, showers, pool and everything in between. Today it's still misused. We tolerate it more and are more aware of these devices however snap of the moments catching you in a bad situation are way too common. How much worse will it get with cameras on a flying platform? Forget the privacy fence at your pool now you will need a privacy roof and kind of takes the fun out of bathing in the sun.
And yes If I see any camera chopper pointing at my yard my shot might stray and hit it by accident (even if it's still in your yard) the only upside with me is "I promise to use a bbgun instead I'm that good a shot with those things"
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
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