by Christopher Lindquist

A DVR For Your Life

Dec 03, 20042 mins
Consumer Electronics

OK, why hasn’t this been getting more attention? Deja View has released a wearable video camera called the Camwear 100 that allows you to record events after they happen. No, it’s not time travel. Instead, the $400 camera records constantly and allows you to capture the previous 30 seconds of everything you’ve witnessed at the press of a button. A tiny camera clips to your hat or glasses and records everything you see on a belt-mounted device that accepts standard SD RAM cards.

Now, 30 seconds isn’t very long, the battery lasts only about four hours, the camera works best in good light, and $400 is quite a bit for what is essentially a low-resolution (320×240 pixel) semi-substitute for your average camcorder. But for some people, the idea of never missing a critical moment will be worth the money. (Think baby’s first steps or the pink elephant that dances through your cubicle every couple of days…”SEE! SEE! I TOLD YOU I WASN’T CRAZY!”)

Honestly, the Camwear 100 today is merely a geeky gimmick. But it foretells of terrifying days ahead. Imagine a world where everyone has one of these things, say the Camwear 700, that is high-res, runs for days on a charge, and lets you grab 24 hours at a click. Better yet, it’s so small that it can be worn unnoticed and it costs maybe $100—cheap enough that you can wear one, give one to the kid, put one in the car, attach one to the front door…the list goes on. Heck, maybe you even get rid of the SD RAM and just stream the stuff wirelessly to your personal server.

Want to see free and open expression disappear overnight? Imagine knowing that you’re likely on-camera 100 percent of the time. People may want to control the use of cameras on cell phones, but the shutter-in-the-shower fears will pale compared with the possibility of completely hidden, full-time videorecording. The clamor for concealed camera laws will be deafening. But imagine this as well: Crime rates drop, sexual harrassment suits dwindle to nonexistence, police brutality cases become almost unheard-of, rumormongering and office backstabbing become extinct. Why? Because anything you say or do can—and quite likely will—be used against you.

The day is coming, folks. Camwear is just the first drop of the storm. Better get out the raincoat—and maybe the ark.