Application of Wearable Technology in Video Surveillance

Even though the history of wearable  devices dates back to the thirteenth century when wearable eyeglasses were invented, and later developed into wearable contact lenses, its progress eventually debuted into more complex technologies, giving rise to Google Glass, that suffered neonatal mortality, prior  to becoming a potential high use devise. Apart from other practical reasons that nipped its sales in the bud, it proved to be potentially harmful to health, emitting carcinogenic radiation close to the head of the wearer in continuous process.

However, this was followed by more fortunate Smartwatches (Apple products) that proved helpful with 1.5 inch display, along with up to 18 hours of battery life.

Nor did the Smartshoe lag behind any further. Digitsole Smartshoe that debuted as traditional footwear with connected sneakers which  integrated wearable technology, thus becoming a huge success.

However, the hottest player in the wearable showground that has recently surfaced is the Body worn video (BWV), also known as Body Camera or Wearable Camera, which essentially is a wearable audio, video, or in other words a photographic recording system hitherto unknown in this limited field.

Although the video proves useful in tracking criminal activities (policing), it also entails recording of social and communal performances, healthcare and medical matters, as well as journalism, especially with journalists who practice photojournalism. Incidentally, the United Nations Information Service provides accreditation and other services for journalists covering events graphically at the headquarters of the UN in Geneva. As a natural corollary, journalists  wearing such body cameras will enjoy more recognition at the UN.

How to Wear a Body Worn Camera

Body worn cameras are usually worn in one of the  three  different areas of the body – straightaway on the torso, in-built into the helmet, or built into the glasses. While some of these feature live streaming facilities, others provide local storage. Meanwhile, The National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test and Evaluation Center are conducting evaluation on the law abiding factor in regard to the device, as also its optics, audio, GPS involvement and other relevant issues.

Types of Body Worn Cameras

Some of the up and coming companies that have specialized in body worn cameras include AXON, VIEVU and VIDCIE.  While each of these features disparity in design, they are similar in one point, the dimension which is not above 3 inches altogether. The principal type, the AXON brand, incidentally, has the following features that prove helpful for operators.

  • Buffer (pre-event) can capture 30-second video even before activation
  • 12+ hour battery (and record) time
  • 130° wide-angle lens allows incredible field of view
  • Low light recording can capture video as good as human retina
  • Video hashing algorithm guarantee tamper-proof production
  • Configurable video quality and audio recording settings available
  • Fully weather resistant

Use and Applications

Body cameras are primarily used for unprejudiced recording of criminal or violent road scenes for evidence at any later date. For instance, the protest marches against President Donald Trump’s sundry presidential actions had been captured in the form of videos for future analysis and retribution.  . Some of these had culminated in mass movement, while in other cases, actionable conduct such as vandalism and assault on Trump supporters have been recorded with the help of body cameras or bodily worn video cameras. In most cases, the roadside video footage recorded by bodily worn video cameras will tell their own story, uncomplicated or un-doctored.

Complexity and Contradictions

True; body worn video cameras will record criminal offence perpetrated by a person or a group of persons that will work as evidence in a court of law and bring quick justice on the basis of evidence provided by the camera. But at the same time, it will also record when a police officer breaks a rule to arrest an innocent parson merely on his power to act on behalf of the government.

Ina recent case, Seattle Police chief Kathleen O’Toole ordered a review of a police officer who wrongly arrested an elderly black man, an incident for which the department apologized shortly thereafter.

The move comes amid simmering tension in the United States over police treatment of African-Americans, sparked in large part by police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York City sometime ago.

Studies also reveal that body worn video can feature involuntary outcomes. What’s more, enhanced transparency can give rise to over-deterrence. When a police officer understands that his actions are being recorded, he will limit his recording to the minimum – only where he is acting according to the law. Also, we must take into account that video not necessarily can ‘speak for itself’ thus leaving plenty of interpretations. A person thumbing for a lift in the middle of less crowded highway may also be interpreted as one who wants to break the law. “These are major barriers,” quipped New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, “to fully implement body worn video.”

As it is, surveillance cameras are standing on the cross road where the right to privacy vis-à-vis security to society is threatening to upset the US Constitution. Body worn videos seem to the last straw in creating the final crash. However, it is time to see how this new device receives clemency in a country which is run by government of the people, by the people and for the people.