Wednesday, September 26, 2007

O Brave New World

Readers may recall London's Ring of Steel, a network of video cameras that is designed to record movement in streets. A smaller version of the system will be installed in New York. But fixed cameras have limitations. So why not put the camera on a micro-UAV? You can watch future of German law enforcement after the "Read More!" button. Wait for the part when it hovers outside a house window.


Blogger rhhardin said...

I am reminded that the Goodyear blimp stays fairly high over Pennsylvania in hunting season.

9/26/2007 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger MK said...

Big brother ey, as far as i know in the UK, the presence of cameras has not done much to reduce crime there, i'm thinking it won't do much in New York either.

9/26/2007 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Smitten Eagle said...

I have some experience working with a similar system when I was fighting in Iraq. We used the DragonEye sysytem, which is basically a back-pack mounted fixed-wing UAV. It has a small camera (either black and white, or Infra-red for night use), a GPS unit, and a small transmitter that could send the information back real time.

It's only drawback? That you cannot change the route in mid-flight. You had to pre-load the flight plan, and it would fly the loaded plan.

Launching and recovery? It took 3 people to launch it, essentially using a bungee-chord system. Two people held either end of the chord, and a third person pulled the chord and plane back. Recovery was easy--it was designed to crash land at a point of your choosing.

My opinion? This is truly scary if people start snooping around. We need to come to some sort of agreement on how this technology can be used. Otherwise I'm afraid that some rightfully pissed yokels in Montanna might resort to using buckshot.

9/26/2007 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

One of my favorite scenes in "Moving" is when Richard Pryor's new neighbor in Idaho, Dennis Quaid, tails prior with an RC Helicopter.

Pryor runs for the front door with the chopper in hot pursuit.
As Pryor jumps up the porch Quaid starts calling "Mayday!" "Mayday!" as the Copter explodes into the side of the house.
Also featured is Quaid's Chevy V-8 Powered Lawn Mower.
Turns out Quaid is the Twin Brother of the neighbor Pryor was trying to get away from in New Jersey!
Also features Dana Carvey.
Hewitt interviews John Burns.
A National Treasure.

9/26/2007 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Under $1,000 personal UAVs are already here.

They follow GPS routes, circle, and transmit visual and infrared video. You can get software to map your UAV route onto Google Maps.

This blows me away! Every once in a while I need a kick in the head to realize how fast technology propagates.

9/26/2007 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Beverly said...

We are sacrificing our freedoms -- for what? Round-the-clock government surveillance, as in the UK?

This is insane. And no, it doesn't prevent crime. It does help convict some criminals, but the smart ones wear baseball caps and gloves. So to catch a few petty thieves, we submit to Big Brother? Barking mad.

9/26/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

As long as we can shoot them out of the air if they're hoovering outside our homes, I don't see what freedoms have been sacrificed. Sounds rather like fun to me.

But since Beverly uses the phrase "barking mad" in her hysterical post, I'm guessing maybe she's a Brit with no wherewithal to fight back at all, ever. Enjoy, Beverly - we're waving at you from this side of the ocean as you sink slowly into the sunset of barbarism, shariah law and jihad bombings.

9/26/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

NahnCee: If these drones have cameras relaying live video back to law enforcement HQ, it seems to me that if one suddenly goes out of commission, it won't take the LE agency long to find it (especially if it is also equipped with GPS technology), nor to figure out what happened to it. It also seems to me that anyone who has gone to the trouble of shooting down a LE surveillance drone will, at the very least, find LE much more, not less, interested in watching - if not interrogating and/or detaining - that person.

So what would you have Beverly do, NahnCee? Shoot down a law enforcement UAV and hope that real live LE officers with guns of their own don't show up at her door a short time later?

9/26/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

A problem with many of these UAVs is that they present an air traffic hazard to piloted aircraft. The people who purchase them never seem to think about that in advance, and then find out that the FAA won’t let them fly.

At some point an UAV becomes so small that the FAA no longer cares, but right now no one seems to know what that threshold is. It’s pretty obvious that a small flying model airplane is small enough not to be a bother to manned air traffic, but then the models don’t tend to fly around autonomously.

9/26/2007 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger warhorse said...

Hey NahnCee ---

Even if Beverly is a Brit, she has the ability to fight back. Industrial grade IR lasers are readily available, and have rather considerably less signature than your messy American firearms ... :-)

9/26/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"models don’t tend to fly around autonomously"
Well, at least not on purpose!
Lawnchair Larry should be enshrined as a symbol for a national
Air Traffic Hazard Awareness Campaign.
"Don't Drink and Lounge at Altitude!"
...and so on.

9/26/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The really smart ones like me have their
"Don't Tase Me Bro!"
t-shirts on order from Dennis Miller.
That should ward off any electronic threats, I figure.
Did you know that "Taser" came from Tom Swift?

9/26/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The technology exists, done deal, ipso fax.

ElectronicCounterWarfare is the only response. Right, RWE? I hope so, because USA is especially good at ECW, or whatever the initials are.

But let's turn the dial forward a decade or four, when Kurzweil predicts we'll start deploying nano-bots. Things the size of dandelion floaters will already be last generation by 2052.

In the nano-future - We won't see them, they'll see us. They'll tell each other what they see, continuously. Always more, not less, always more.*

The trick is keeping them on our side.

* Sampling: "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil.

9/26/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't forget the Quarter Scale RC's, rwe!
...or that magnificent 8 turbine B-52 that is now longer with us.
Hate for you to encounter that in your Cessna.

9/26/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Best thing about that technology, Tony will b the truly magic Pill:
No more damn Tubes up folks Rears!
Right now I hear, the bottleneck is the computer/software image processing.
That shouldn't take long.

9/26/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger juandos said...

mk says: "as far as i know in the UK, the presence of cameras has not done much to reduce crime there"...

Well sir it seems you might have something there in your statement if the following newspaper article is valid: Tens of thousands of CCTV cameras, yet 80% of crime unsolved

9/26/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Begins in 1984!
Leben der Anderen, Das (2006)
Also Known As:. The Lives of Others

Captain Wiesler(Ulrich Muhe) is a wiretapping expert with the Stasi (East German Secret Police) in the mid-eighties,who becomes disillusioned with his career and life in general in the former socialist republic when his latest assignment,Georg Dreyman(Sebastian Koch),a playwright with views against the totalitarian state,starts to challenge his beliefs through his overheard conversations.
"I do agree with all the other positive comments, and just need to add that this is the very first movie about the former GDR I saw that is not something like a comedy. Flicks like "Sonnenallee" or "Good bye Lenin" definitely were great and funny, but unconsciously left myself (a West German) with the impression that the GDR has been a sort of "Mickey Mouse State" full of stupid but charming characters, not really to be taken seriously.

After seeing "Das Leben der Anderen" this impression shifted quite a bit: there actually was suffering, killing desperation and a terribly claustrophobic atmosphere behind that wall. This might well be the most realistic depiction of the dark side of the former East Germany. Thanks to the Producers, actors and director for making this movie. "

9/26/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/26/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I just want the food pills and flying cars like the Jetsons had back in the '60's.

See, the Jetsons were serious sci-fi, none of those implausible transporter beams like Star Trek. Just robots, food pills and flying cars, regular stuff that's just around the corner.

9/26/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Director's Statement

9/26/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


9/26/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Right now the computing power required for Vista is pretty impressive, can't wait to set one up with Xp:
Should be like the good old DOS days in terms of responsiveness.

9/26/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

It reminded me of the assassination at the beginning of Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net.

9/26/2007 08:01:00 PM  

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