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Robocop Now in Beta

TheFeature :: Robocop Now in Beta



Police at this summer's US political conventions are being outfitted with unblinking digital eyes connected to a wireless optic nerve.



If you're in New York City when the Republican National Conventions kicks off next week, watch for police officers watching you with extra sets of megapixel peepers. The Federal Protective Service has outfitted patrol officers with helmets embedded with wireless video cameras. The images from the helmet-cams and traditional surveillance cameras mounted in federal buildings are streamed to a headquarters-on-wheels where deployment decisions can be made.



"This is an added bonus," the service's regional director, Ronald Libby, told New York Newsday. "I want to know what he [a patrol officer] sees to make a decision. ... This takes the guess work out of it."



According to the Newsday article, the signals are then encrypted and beamed to the Net via satellite for other officers to view via wirelessly enabled mobile PCs. The system is part of a larger digital video-surveillance system accessible via traditional Internet protocols.



The wearable component of the Federal Protective Service's system is more akin to two projects in development at UC Berkeley. As reported on TheFeature earlier this year, smart firefighter helmets will provide emergency personnel with an "augmented reality" display that overlays text and images onto their view through the helmet. Meanwhile, command and control officers can help guide the rescue efforts by sharing the view of the firefighters inside a blaze.
Real-time data collection by thousands of security officers, all being encrypted and relayed wirelessly for analysis and management decision making, in an effort to make us all 'safer'. Hmm.



Eventually, most every square inch of the US will be monitored by smart cameras, which will send their feeds back to Homeland Security or someone else. This constant state of surveillance is something we're just going to have to live with, it seems. Obviously this story helps to illustrate the importance of providing image display capabilities in concert with the image capture work that the cops are doing. If the headquarters can beam back images to display on these same officers' helmets, it will help them take immediate action and provide them information relevant to performing their tasks faster and better.



The same principles that apply to fixing cars using the Nomad apply to law enforcement out in the world, needing live feeds of information about what they need to accomplish.

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