SenseCam Camera: Your Personal Black Box Update

SenseCam is a Microsoft research toy, a badge-sized camera that can capture up to 2000 VGA images per day. It also monitors movement, light level and temperature. It's been compared to the airplane "black box" that records data just in case there is a problem later.

Update (Apr-03-2004): Hewlett-Packard is working on software to record the conversations you have about the events of your life, convert the speech to text and then extract keywords to caption and index the pictures you've taken. It may also be possible to combine this information with automatically inserted data from GPS devices built into your phone camera. Read Snapshot chat creates automatic captions for digital cameras.

Sensors trigger each new picture; when you walk into a new room, a new person walks up to you, the time changes, sudden movement - these can all lead up to a record being made of the event, including a picture (see below).

SenseCam Camera Photo - courtesy of Microsoft

One possible use for this thing mentioned on the Microsoft site is being able to retrace your steps to find something you lost. People with real memory problems (as opposed to ordinary forgetfulness) could use it in the same way. Perhaps a person could rebuild a day or short period of days that were "lost" due to memory problems.

Obviously, a device of this kind also raises questions about surveillance, since you are taking pictures of people without their awareness and without their consent.

In Earth Made of Glass John Barnes writes about two things - the Psypyx and the emblok. The first one recorded memories and impressions, and the other played it back. Other people could also contribute their memories of a person. If you were killed, the memories could be replayed into the developing brain of a cloned spare. Over time, it would become you again.

See the original article SenseCam Camera at Microsoft Research, Microsoft Gadget Keeps Record of Your Life, and the Flexbeta article on the SenseCam Camera. (Original story submitted 3/5/2004.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/3/2004)

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