Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Body Worn Video & Facial Recognition Are Merely Terrestrial

We are all intrigued by the technological advances that are portrayed on T.V. and in film that appear to be larger than life, and more supernatural and science-fiction in nature than real.  We suspend our disbeliefs in shows like NBC's The Event, where The President is covering up a 60-year-old conspiracy, and is full aware that there are E.B.E's (Extraterrestrial Biological Entities) both held captive by-- and living unbeknownst in--  the United States. 

The E.B.V.'s technological prowess far outweighs the United States' own capabilities, and we see things like instantaneous time travel and localized harnessing of something more powerful and targeted than our nuclear fission.  And among these unbelievable concepts, we also watch and hear about the use of facial recognition software, real-time digital video, body-worn video and other more terrestrial abilities.  Our most advanced tools against theirs, one might say.  And more advanced each day, we are.

Facial recognition technology is now employed in a number of law-enforcement and crime prevention applications -- from stadium entrances to police booking systems to CCTV on city streets.  These systems can pick up an individual with near-100% accuracy and immediately produce a real-time report, whether it is to bar the person's entrance to a particular event or tie them to a crime.  Facial recognition has even gone mobile recently -- Smart Phones are now capable of using face tracking software, which will allow users to log onto social networking sites, conduct online banking, and access email all by looking at their phones.  Not that this is comparable to a "poof, the 200-passenger-full plane has been transported from Miami to Arizona in a single flash" a la Thomas from The Event.  But these very technologies that not long ago seemed like future science fiction movie props, are now real, useable, and helpful in our everyday lives.

The same holds true for real-time digital and body worn video.  These features aid greatly in law enforcement and crime prevention, and are growing more robust and applicable each year.  Years before when any sort of video recording device was large at best, and poor quality at worst, the technology simply was not utilized and investigations and surveillance operations suffered.  Today, pieces are so small and comfortable, and the image and sound captured is of the utmost quality, that police forces, university police, and government teams alike are using them in their everyday actions.  That's not to say that if they found themselves up against the likes of 50-plus E.B.V.'s that our gadgets would help apprehend and quell the angry "others".  But, these products are useful on just about everyone else.  We'll be watching The Event closely for our next generation ideas though.

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