Beyond wearable cameras: Consider your very own “Digital Angel”

Perhaps this tragic incident in Phoenix (Arizona) could lead to the next phase of wearable cameras, where instead of us mindfully donning sousveillance devices, we could build personal flying / hovering drones to track and protect us… i.e. digital angels. Ridiculous? Do read on…

To get a sense of all this, altaski shares with us the final moments of a collision between two news helicopters which happened earlier this week. The edited Youtube video first shows the News Channel 15 helicopter’s perspective, and then switches to the Channel 12 News helicopter’s perspective seconds after the collision.

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, also blogs about do-it-yourself UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) at DIY Drones. His latest blog focuses on civilian uses of UAVs, where he happens to ask a pretty timely question: “Why aren’t we using UAVs instead of news helicopters?“:

The tragic death of four people in a collision of two news helicopters in Phoenix has prompted much discussion about whether following stolen cars and other TV-ratings fodder is worth the risk. What isn’t debated is whether people want to watch that sort of thing, because the answer is so clearly yes. So why not give people what they want without risking human lives, and encourage TV news stations to use UAVs for traffic, crime and breaking news coverage instead? Seriously.

You can read about the incident’s details here…

Aside: In other news, the first fully-armed drones are now patrolling the streets of Iraq. I still want a useful drone, not a killing machine.

9 thoughts on “Beyond wearable cameras: Consider your very own “Digital Angel”

  1. @nuMentally: Chris’ DIY Drones blog actually lists out how to build your own UAV based on your budget. I might just built one… thinking of getting those small remote helicopters kids are playing with and fixing a tiny 1-inch wireless cam onto it. I know the battery life is only a few minutes, so maybe I’d need to mod it with a more powerful motor for the rotors.

  2. The sky is so big and camera can zoom very far nowadays. I really don’t understand why do they have to fly so close to each other.

  3. Quick update: WowWee’s Bladestar autonomous flying drone could be a decent starting point. Though it clearly has limitations for surveillance use, it’s autonomous functions are features I personally favor towards the design of personal UAVs.

  4. Following stolen cars it not worth the risk, only official police helicopters should be following the drama, so it can help to convict the criminal – not for out entertainment.

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