Posts Tagged ‘video monitoring’

Car eye-tracking system wakes you before you crash

Sunday, November 28th, 2010


Falling asleep while at the helm of a few tons of metal and plastic going 60 miles-per-hour doesn’t end well, but there’s little the modern car can do about it. If it, say, stopped itself suddenly it could become a hazard to other drivers. The Eyetracker system knows it’s not on the car, though — it’s on you to drive safe.

With that in mind, the German-based Eyetracker watches the driver’s face for telltale signs of sleepiness, and issues a warning if it looks like you’re about to doze off. The system uses two cameras to keep tabs on the spatial positioning of the pupil and the line of vision — which would waver if you’re about to pass out. In other words, it makes sure your eyes are on the road.

What’s really exciting here is how small and easy to install the system is, which could see it put to use in ways other than keeping drivers awake (a noble cause, to be sure). Despite the picture above, the Eyetracker doesn’t need a laptop to function, and its control unit is the size of a matchbox. What’s more, it can be installed in any car as it handles all of its own processing itself.

Beyond just the automobile world, the Eyetacker could aid in medical operations where being able to keep on eye on — well — an eye is essential, or even in video games, serving as a head-tracker that lets the player look around without the aid of a physical controller.

Source: Fraunhofer

School District Halts Webcam Surveillance

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

A suburban Philadelphia school district is deactivating a webcam, theft-tracking program secretly lodged on 2,300 student laptops following allegations the device was used by administrators to spy on a boy at home.

“I think given the concerns of parents and community members, I think we have a responsibility to at least take a pause and review the policy,” Lower Merion School District spokesman Doug Young said in a telephone interview Thursday evening.

The move came a day after the 6,900-pupil district, which provides students from its two high schools free Macbooks, was sued in federal court on allegations it was undertaking a dragnet surveillance program targeting its students — an allegation the district denied. Young said the computer-tracking program was activated a “handful” of times solely to track a missing laptop.

The suit was based on a student’s claim, acknowledged by the district, that the webcam was used by school officials to chronicle “improper behavior” based on a photo the computer secretly took of the boy at home. (.pdf) in November.

The assistant principal at Harriton High informed the student “that the school district was of the belief that minor plaintiff was engaged in improper behavior in his home, and cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in minor plaintiff’s personal laptop issued by the school district,” according to the lawsuit.

Young declined to directly say whether the program was activated in this instance to locate a missing laptop. He said the district only activates it when there is a reported missing laptop, and urged Threat Level to draw its own “inferences.”

“The only situation where the feature would have been activated is in the case of a stolen, missing or lost laptop,” Young said. “There’s never been any scenario used for any purpose other than that.”

Lawyers for the student did not return phone calls and e-mails for comment. The Associated Press reported late Friday the FBI was probing the allegations. (more…)

Britain To Put CCTV Cameras Inside Private Homes

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

georeorwell.jpgAs an ex-Brit, I’m well aware of the authorities’ love of surveillance and snooping, but even I, a pessimistic cynic, am amazed by the governments latest plan: to install Orwell’s telescreens in 20,000 homes.

£400 million ($668 million) will be spend on installing and monitoring CCTV cameras in the homes of private citizens. Why? To make sure the kids are doing their homework, going to bed early and eating their vegetables. The scheme has, astonishingly, already been running in 2,000 family homes. The government’s “children’s secretary” Ed Balls is behind the plan, which is aimed at problem, antisocial families. The idea is that, if a child has a more stable home life, he or she will be less likely to stray into crime and drugs. (more…)

U.K. Turns On CCTVs: Hey, Behave Yourself!

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

cctv on tthe skyThe United Kingdom has the most surveillance cameras per capita in the world. With the recent news that CCTV cameras do not actually deter crime, how can the local town councils justify the massive surveillance program? By going after pooping dogs.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, the head of the Metropolitan Police’s Visual Images Office explained the failings of CCTV:

“Billions of pounds has been spent on it, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It’s been an utter fiasco: only 3 percent of crimes were solved by CCTV. There’s no fear of CCTV. Why don’t people fear it? (They think) the cameras are not working.”

Conjuring up the bogeymen of terrorists, online pedophiles and cybercriminals, the U.K. passed a comprehensive surveillance law, The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, in 2000. The law allows “the interception of communications, carrying out of surveillance, and the use of covert human intelligence sources” to help prevent crime, including terrorism.

Recent reports in the U.K. media indicate that the laws are being used for everything but terrorism investigations:

  • Derby City Council, Bolton, Gateshead, and Hartlepool used surveillance to investigate dog fouling.
  • Bolton Council also used the act to investigate littering.
  • The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea conducted surveillance on the misuse of a disabled parking pass.
  • Liverpool City Council used Ripa to identify a false claim for damages.
  • Conwy

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Video Surveillance Preparation

Monday, May 12th, 2008

cctv 1I’ve no ideas of what keep on happening around us. I do feel so insecure nowadays, due to increasing of crime rate. With crime on the rise many people and business are looking for added security. Video surveillance is one the top ways to improve the security of your belongings and loved ones. I get asked alot about what is good or recommended and although each situation is different there are some common things to consider when showing a video surveillance system that will bring the required results.

You have two basic kinds of video surveillance cameras, there are the CCTV cameras, which are what you see most often right now. They are the cameras that are connected to a DVR or VCR, they usually have a coax type cable (rg59) and a power cable to power the camera leading from the dvr to the camera. You have many different styles, but the most common are the dome cameras or the box cameras. They both do the same thing, they are just in different enclosures. You also have the pan, tilt, zoom cameras that are normally in domes but you can control the camera position via a joystick or through software on your computer.

cctv 2The other type of video surveillance camera are the network cameras, or IP cameras as some call them. They are the latest technology to come along in the video surveillance industry. Network cameras are generally what I recommend because of their advanced features, such as email notifications, remote viewing, can use a pc to view and operate, ease of installation, and exceptional picture quality with the megapixel cameras. The ip cameras can be installed using a single cat5 or cat6 network cable, most of the network cameras are poe (power over ethernet) ready, which means that the power and video can be carried over the same line, which is a huge money saver compared to a cctv system, a poe injector or a poe switch is needed on the backend to power the cameras. Another advantage of this type of system is you can have mulitple cameras coming from the switch and you can the switch plugged into a UPS (battery backup) so if you ever have a power outtage, the cameras will keep running and recording.

A network camera has software built into the camera that allows you to change setting such as color setting, motion sensor areas, email settings and so on. One of the biggest selling points of a network camera is that they can be viewed online from any computer that has an internet connection and all you need is your standard browser, like internet explorer. Software is also available, such as Milestone Systems, that allows you to setup multiple cameras from any location and view them all on the same screen. Read the rest of this article