Body Worn Video Steering Group
Body worn video is usually referred to in the context of its use by the emergency services, particularly the police. However, projects have surfaced seeking to use body worn video cameras for other purposes, which may eventually lead to greater technology developments in police-standard cameras.
One stand-out project founded by Andy Kropa, ‘Hacking Alzheimer’s’, received a Creative Capital award to get started. Described as “a wearable system that aims to improve the quality of life for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by using perpetually-recording cameras as an aid to memory.” The project is essentially using body worn video cameras as a ‘memory-diary’ (known as life-logging) for those suffering memory loss, enabling them to remember more clearly through visual and audio media, supported by research.
Other life-logging based projects, such as that by Dublin City University Professor Cathal Gurrin, are equally remarkable for their commitment. Gurrin has worn a body camera nearly every day for several years, and his research interest in personal analytics and lifelogging (a search engine for the self) has also developed an interest in information retrieval (IR) and a particularly in how people access information from mobile devices (MHCIR). He has gathered a digital memory since 2006 (incl. over 12 million images) and hundreds of millions of other sensor readings. The aim? A detailed digital trace.
The interest in body cameras having automatic ‘triggers’ to start recording without pressing a button is also under development. Un-holstering of a weapon and/or voice control are most commonly used as examples to avoid discrepancies in shootings involving police, or as fail-safes such when pressing a record button physically is forgotten.
For the police, security, and other industries interested in body worn video these projects have the potential to inform future technologies that might be implemented in the cameras. Many predict that location data, speed, distance, and many more factors involved in an incident will prove vital as metrics for determining the outcome of a case. For now, body worn video will continue to aid the police in their current form, continuously developing to be easy to use and effective for tackling crime.