What the fashionable gargoyle is wearing this season


It's a bluetooth headset with a 640x240 f2.8 video camera with a five hour buffer. It sounds like you have to manually turn it on to record, but it continuously fills a thirty second buffer, so when you hit record, it starts recording 30 seconds ago, like Tivo.

No iPhone support yet.

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36 Responses:

  1. netsharc says:

    I thought this would be the future, where more than sharing textual updates on Facebook/Twitter, you can watch an HD stream through another person's camera to actually see their environment. I guess it's come faster than I expected. I look forward to the first equivalent of "I'm taking a dump" tweet using this toy.

    Also, a 30 second instant replay button? That's actually a fascinating new feature for life itself. I wonder how the battery life is, though, and why only 30 seconds, is that limited to the amount of RAM (instead of flash memory)? It'd be more fascinating if it worked like a plane's black box, record constantly and erase the earliest information to store the newest data...

    • pavel_lishin says:

      I think watching someone's life via their ear would very quickly induce nausea faster than a Bourne movie.

    • strspn says:

      Yeah, instead of looking at a still photo of food we can't eat, we're going to get the whole deal.

      *throws hands up and shrugs*

      Maybe the porn will be good, who knows?

    • hermeticseal says:

      the circular buffer is actually 5 hours deep. the battery life is 4 hours.

      when something interesting happens, you can press the button on the bottom of the boom. the last 30 seconds of recorded video is then packaged into a clip. you can share this clip instantly if you like, or just leave it on the clip partition for later review.

      at any time you can also go into the phone app and create a clip of up to 30 minutes in length, from any points in the 5 hour circular buffer. the 30 minute limit is just there because the video has to be transferred over bluetooth to the phone; any longer and it would just take too long.

      some people are knocking the video quality and frame rate, but keep in mind the paradigm is to share clips over the mobile network. as such, if a clip is much more than 3MB it just takes way too long to upload. that's the reason for the video encoding profile.

      • hermeticseal says:

        also, it does not really start recording from 30 seconds ago when you press the record button.

        when you press the record button, it starts recording from that moment.

        if it is in record mode, then the instant clip button makes a clip of the last 30 seconds of the circular buffer.

  2. zarex says:

    I love this concept for video and photography. Rather than setting up a shot, or anticipating something interesting happening, you just let things happen and grab the buffer when worthwhile.

    Get it to $29 and everyone will have one.

    • gryazi says:

      This is basically what that-guy-I-forget-the-name-of who went to work for Microsoft(!) Research of all places was fiddling with.

      Except his recorder was disk-or-tape-based, because we couldn't fathom having enough RAM to store a day until then (and I think his project was archiving everything just-in-case-you-care-eight-years-from-now).

      I actually thought photography would get here faster, but the realities of working with DV camcorders (and none including a 'last 30 seconds buffer' at that time to make up for slow tape spool-up) in the past ten years has meant that more of us own "still" cameras that happen to shoot video than the converse.

  3. lunaticsx says:

    It's the local half of a lifecasting rig, in a much smaller package. Imagine how many more streams there'll be on justin.tv and ustream once it gets integrated with a portable device that can continuously uplink the video.

    Which news agency is going to be the first to get all their employees to wear these when they're out in public?

    How about weddings where a bunch of the guests are wearing these and someone provides a service editing all the best clips together into a single video (transitions, wipes, 24-style split views...)? I don't want that editing job.

    Maybe a performance art piece where the performers are wearing them and a resulting video is edited together from the footage. Flashmobs, "spontaneous" train station performances, Improv Everywhere...

    How many new Rodney King-type videos could come out? Or New Orleans Katrina/Indian ocean tsunami/etc. videos?

    With a continuous video uplink this would be similar in size/weight/bulk to a wireless mic, so some performer (oh, hi, Lady Gaga) could project their viewpoint to nearby screens without needing to wear the amount of gear currently required, or drag a cable around. 640x240 blown up to 12 feet wide will look pretty crappy, though (understatement). Maybe some "avant garde" live theatre companies would experiment with it, especially if the setting is in the round, so the audience isn't as pulled out of the experience by seeing the performer's viewpoint of them.

    What I really want is this integrated into my glasses, with playback projected onto the inner surface in a HUD-style display. Plus one pointed behind me, as well.

    Oh, and a pony. This might be nice as a stocking stuffer to start with, though.

    Also similar: The main character in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage" gets his eyes replaced with cybernetic implants (against his will) which he uses to playback previous moments in his life.

    • jwz says:

      Sadly, wearing a bluetooth headset still reads as "douchebag".

      Still, it's a lot nicer than Edison Carter's rig.

      • pavel_lishin says:

        I'm still waiting for a functional pair of these.

      • lunaticsx says:

        I was thinking of mentioning Edison Carter, but we're already past that level of tech, if anyone cared to actually integrate it into a single camera.

        I don't think news agencies would really care whether wearing these would make their employees look like douchebags whenever they're out in public (or even necessarily agree with the sentiment--many of the people who would make those decisions probably already wear bluetooth headsets).

        I wonder if the camera is detachable? Maybe a version could be made that clips onto glasses frames. I'd guess that the bulky bit behind the ear is the battery, though.

    • elliterati says:

      In Illinois, for a citizen to film police abuse without their consent is illegal.


      It's total bullshit.

  4. wire_on_fire says:

    I thought "Gee, I'd love to have one for while I'm cycling. That way, if some asshole tries to do a hit-and-run I'll at least have video of the asshole who did it."

    Then I remembered your post about how the police don't bother to investigate a hit-and-run even if there's pretty clear camera evidence.


    • pavel_lishin says:

      True, but at least your family will know where to direct the mob.

    • notthebuddha says:

      There's still civil court - and it will be fun to embarrass the lazy cops if you can get the video in the media. But I doubt head-mounted 640x420 will do it; I'm working on getting a 20MP panoramic "bounty cam" package close to radar-detector size for some reassurance that any exposed license plates, faces, or body damage will be recognizable under most conditions.

  5. pmb7777 says:

    For those who want this better, smaller and cheaper, this picture was taken with one of these taped to the back of my motorcycle. Better resolution, smaller package, and only $8 + BYO flash.

    • skreidle says:

      How is "single shot" better than "auto-recording video with 5hr buffer"?

      • tdanaher says:

        The device linked to isn't a "single shot" camera, it's a camcorder with full video and audio that runs for, I think, a couple of hours when the battery is charged up through a USB port. I have the same one, it's a very nifty thing. The only real issue with it is that it can look weird sometimes when one aims a supposed keychain at a videoed target. On that front the Looxcie is a lot better because it's just naturally hooked to the side of your head.

    • lunaticsx says:

      Glue one to a TV-B-Gone and you can record people's reactions as you turn off their TVs... Lots of yuks to be had, there.

      (I can see Gizmodo ordering a dozen.)

  6. tdanaher says:

    This is going to revolutionize the bootlegging of Broadway shows. It's so small and doesn't appear to have much in the way of anything that emits a detectable amount of light, so how are ushers going to know one is in action?

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Binoculars looking for bluetooth headsets with a big honkin' camera attached, I'd wager.

      Or they'll just flat out ban bluetooth headsets.

      • lafinjack says:

        Then you'd have to ban hats, long hair, high collars...

        "Warning, citizen, you must display your bare ears at all times and submit to an ear inspection at the request of management."

        • pavel_lishin says:

          Never having been to a Broadway show, I have no idea how hardcore they are about the rules, or how much they're willing to inconvenience their customers to prevent the EVILS OF PIRACY.

          I wouldn't put it past folks, though. Theater is serious business.

    • lovingboth says:

      Just out of curiosity, where do such naughty people post stuff?

      • lunaticsx says:

        Second that question. I'm pretty familiar with where and what kinds of things get shared online (cough) and I can't say I've ever seen a forum for the sharing of bootlegged Broadway shows.

        As someone who sees 4-6 big stage shows a year, I'm also not so interested in watching a bootleg video of one. A big part of the appeal is that it's *live* theatre. It's like the difference between going to a concert and watching one on video. The video is just no patch on the real experience.

        Really, you'd get more out of the film version of a stage show, once it's made, even if it's mediocre (Chicago, Rent, Mamma Mia, etc. etc.).

    • netsharc says:

      The PDF manual on their website says a red LED under the lens will glow whenever it's on, so very easily visible. The first thing people who want to do evil with this will do is of course break that.

  7. sheilagh says:

    care to sport one of these eye melting watches??

  8. gfish says:

    In not that many years, everyone will be wearing one (or more), with the video constantly being uploaded to a fully Photosynthed version of StreetView. It's nice having stuff like that to look forward to.

  9. bbot.org says:

    Ah, so someone finally made the "snitchcam" Daniel Rutter wrote about six years ago.

    • notthebuddha says:

      I had the same idea when some asshole nearly side-swiped my mom's van, close enough to remove her side mirror, but you need much better resolution than this thing. Canon's current Powershots are just about there, but you'd need about 5 of them to cover the front and side views.

    • andrewducker says:

      David Brin wrote about something similar in Earth, back in 1990. It then turned into his non-fiction book The Transparent Society, wherein he saw the death of privacy.

  10. jayp39 says:

    Sounds like the perfect device for sousveillance.

  11. thefowle says:

    JACK Timemachine is an old *nix program that does the previous-30-seconds-dump trick. It's audio only, but extremely handy for capturing unexpected awesomeness, and it plugs into JACK so wiring it into a complex audio system is easy-peasy.