Smart Video Cams - DARPA's Mind's Eye

An intelligent video camera is next on DARPA's wish list. Their upcoming Mind's Eye conference will spell out what they want:

One of the desired military capabilities resulting from this new form of visual intelligence is a smart camera, with sufficient visual intelligence that it can report on activity in an area of observation. A camera with this kind of visual intelligence could be employed as a payload on a broad range of persistent stare surveillance platforms, from fixed surveillance systems, which would conceivably benefit from abundant computing power, to camera‐equipped perch‐and‐ stare micro air vehicles, which would impose extreme limitations on payload size and available computing power. For the purpose of this research, employment of this capability on man‐ portable unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is assumed. This provides a reasonable yet challenging set of development constraints, along with the potential to transition the technology to an objective ground force capability.

I think that they might as well add the ability to fly around and gather visual information. If they do, their smart video cam sounds a lot like Karen Traviss' bee cams from her 2004 novel City of Pearl:

Eddie realized just how close the wess'har camp must have been to the colony when he saw the first of the fighters...

...He made a mental note to have the bee cam permanently active in the future, just in case he missed another chance of good footage...

He set the bee cam to focus on any movement and enjoyed the day around him. Who would have thought he would end up doing wildlife documentaries?

While DARPA is handing out money, they should also talk to the creators of this real-life film-making robot, which is able to analyze individual film frames and then join the best parts together as a finished film.


(Selected robot film images)

From The Mind's Eye (pdf) via Wired.

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