Wearable Cameras: Must-Have Accessories or Privacy Killers? (VIDEO)

wearable camera

Photo via Kickstarter

We’ve all said it: “I wish I had brought a camera.”

You’ve reeled in an enormous fish. There’s a stunning sunset over the mountains. The chick next to you at a concert keeps flashing her boobs at the band.

If only you hadn’t left your camera or cellphone sitting at home on your dresser, dummy.

You wouldn’t be in such a pickle if you had simply clipped a tiny camera onto your shirt at the beginning of the day and relied on it to automatically capture all the important (and completely unimportant) moments in your life.

In what could be the solution to these vexing problems — and the cause of far more vexing moral problems — manufacturers have begun cranking out tiny, wearable cameras that snap, snap, snap away while you go about your business.

life-logging camera

Photo via Autographer.com

Enter Memoto, Autographer and a handful of other not-quite-at-market “lifelogging” technologies that visually capture and store every minute of your life for handy future reference.

It’s the closest thing most people will ever have to an actual “photographic memory.” It also has some potentially creepy implications.

Autographer captures thousands of high resolution photos daily, digitizing your life into 8 gigabytes’ worth of ones and zeroes, and then allows you to view your life in a (presumably hilarious) stop-motion playback.

But what happens if you spend your entire day slumped on the couch watching a Full House marathon, or perhaps engaging in some “private time” that shouldn’t be captured on camera? The device uses its clever little robot brain to sense when something interesting is happening, and chooses not to record the more lethargic facets of your life (to be safe, though, you should remove it during private time).

life-logging camera

Photo via Kickstarter

Memeto is essentially the same, but teensier — roughly the size of the smallest iPod shuffle, but completely devoid of buttons. It automatically snaps a picture every 30 seconds, using a built-in accelerometer to ensure that pictures have the proper orientation, no matter what orientation you’re in.

It’ll be an amazing way to surreptitiously snap photos to submit to People of Walmart.

Through a micro-USB connection, your computer will slurp up all the accumulated images off the device and upload them to the Memeto Web Service, where your digital life can be archived and shared.

The gadget was hatched, as so many good and bad ideas are nowadays, through a Kickstarter campaign, which quickly shattered its projected goal of 50,000 by raking in more than a half-million bucks in pledges.

Here’s the pitch:

Nifty, huh?  Creepy, huh?

Sure, you may want to capture every last detail of your life, but what about all the people you interact with on a daily basis? Chances are you’ll encounter some camera-shy types who wouldn’t necessarily appreciate your James Bond-ish surveillance technology. Some will downright hate it.

And what about the incriminating, embarrassing moments that you don’t want to re-live? If the life-logging devices are really as small and unobtrusive as they’re intended to be, you’d eventually forget that you were even wearing one, which could lead to some unappealing bathroom footage — or worse.

The concept of wearable cameras is not an entirely new one. It’s been known for years by a cool-sounding French-ish word: sousveillance. Rather than living your life under the watchful, unblinking eye of Big Brother, the power of surveillance is usurped by the individual.

It’s a pretty cool idea, but time will tell if the world is ready for fashionable, life-logging sousveillance.

Memoto is scheduled to hit the market in April, although would-be life-loggers can pre-order the devices — in one of three colors — for $279 apiece. The makers of Autographer say it “won’t be long” until the device hits shelves, though further details are still hazy.

Until these intriguing, somewhat disturbing doodads make it to market, your best bet for capturing life’s special moments is simply to not forget cellphone or camera on the dresser, dummy.

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