5 June 2010

Martin Conway: SenseCam and human memory enhancement

SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images. SenseCam also contains a number of different electronic sensors. These include light-intensity and light-color sensors, a passive infrared (body heat) detector, a temperature sensor, and a multiple-axis accelerometer. These sensors are monitored by the camera’s microprocessor, and certain changes in sensor readings can be used to automatically trigger a photograph to be taken. For example, a significant change in light level, or the detection of body heat in front of the camera can cause the camera to take a picture. Alternatively, the user may elect to set SenseCam to operate on a timer, for example taking a picture every 30 seconds. We have also experimented with the incorporation of audio level detection, audio recording and GPS location sensing into SenseCam although these do not feature in the current hardware.



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