Behind the Lens: New device captures every second of daily life


The Vicon Revue uses Microsoft Sensecam technology to capture every moment of every day, generating a JPEG flipbook. The device is intended to be worn around the neck.

I mentioned to my wife last month that the next obvious step in the evolution of content gathering would be a wearable device, like a necklace, that documents everything you experience. We’re not that far off with portable smart phones and miniature Flip video cameras. But this piece of equipment could be active at all times and gather visual data with or without your input. It would be something like what happened in the movie “Truman,” only the perspective changes. In the film, one person’s entire life was recorded and broadcast for a viewing audience — the ultimate reality TV show. But with this wearable recording device, you would be the collector of a constant visual feed of your life as it happens in front of you. Imagine going home at night and rewinding your day to review an encounter with a friend or a meeting at work. You could literally watch your life flash before your eyes. Since we’re speculating here, let’s go one step further.

I can imagine many people objecting to being filmed by these devices. So maybe other devices will be invented that would be “imaging jammers” that would disrupt or shut down these recording devices when they approached. Would society eventually split into two groups of people — the ReViewed and the Cloaked. OK, I’m really stretching things now, aren’t I? Well, maybe I should have done my homework before talking about an old-fashioned device like this. It isn’t even science fiction. Enter the ViconRevue, a wearable camera that creates an uploadable JPEG flipbook of your life. You can hang it around your neck and select how often you want the device to automatically capture an image. Having a slow day? You can choose a leisurely shot every 30 seconds. Rocking out at a concert or dance and you want more content, set it to record once per second. The device is based on Microsoft Sensecam technology and has been used as a research tool and as an aid for people with memory loss. But I’ve recently seen it written about in photography magazines. I have no doubt that it’ll soon become fashionable to wear a designer version of the device.

Don’t expect great quality, though. The file size is small. But the wide-angle lens maximizes its field-of-view so just about everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera. Prices are around $800, mainly because it’s seen more as a scientific and research device at this point. As for the jamming device I described, for those of us who don’t want to be part of someone’s daily flipbook, I think that’s still on the drawing board.

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