Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Surveillance Spottings - Toys and Nature

Spy/Security themed toys - that supposedly actually 'work' - you know, as much as the 'real' versions do
The dullest ever model aircraft kit. Was tempted to buy it and then paint it pink.

A dog with a webcam, from Wired Magazine. For bomd disposal work apparently.

From the Cranfield Prospectus, research on using military radar to track endangered wildlife.
Recently, it's been surveillance toys and surveillance and nature. The surveillance/security toys are not really a new thing (I made a couple of model spitfires as a child, and I think I had some kind of spy kit, with a fingerpint ink pad and magnifying glasses). What has developed is the technology that can be put into a toy today, but more importantly, the real world referent from which the toy is derived has changed and advanced. The model Predator drone is a bit archaic, but also incredibly banal. It's probably going to feature only in the collection enthusiast or completist aircraft modeller (if that, I found it in the bargain bin). You can pick up a toy remote control helicopter with a video camera in it for not very much money, which is using technology not very much different from active, working UAVs.

At the SSN conference at the start of the month, Kevin Haggerty gave a talk on surveillance and nature, and stated that once you started thinking about it, examples practically threw themselves at you. So here are two I've come across recently. The dog is a platform, whilst the bird sensing radar is an example of the complex intersection between surveillance and nature. The military technology is used to understand nature, and contribute to the maintenance of a particular ecological form, but at the same time, the work can flow through to enhance the design of small stealth aircraft.


  1. The "disappearance of disappearance" for pets?
    Of course, potential applications are by no means limited to our furry friends:
    "As a matter of fact you can use it to track almost anything!"

  2. The picture on that page is excellent - the transmitter on the cat is massive, and that's not a skinny cat!

    Makes it easy to find your pets, because the dead weight of the system means they can hardly move.