Smile! Police to Wear Live-Action Body Cameras
London Law Enforcement Agency-Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A camera appended to a police uniform records detailed information in real-time.
Whether wearable tech is the wave of the future or a passing fad, tech-laden clothing keeps coming down the runway. Although it can be tough to separate gimmick from game-changer, this fashion show has a high-tech core that’s actually functional.
Pauline van Dongen
"When you wear solar cells on your body you can be an energy source," Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen said in describing the inspiration for a prototype coat and dress she made in collaboration with project leader Christiaan Holland, solar panel specialist Gertjan Jongerden and students at the University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen. Wool and leather garments contain enough solar cells to help charge a cellphone.
Primitive London / Adam Harvey
New York-based artist Adam Harvey created a provocative line of clothing intended to foil ubiquitous surveillance. His anti-drone scarf, along with an anti-drone hoodie, was made from specialized materials the designer indicated could thwart thermal imaging used widely by unmanned aerial vehicles.
Toronto-based suit maker Garrison Bespoke went the extra mile to keep its jet-setting clients safe in dangerous places. The company incorporated patented lightweight and flexible armor material right into the suit jacket. During tests, the carbon nanotube fabric stopped 9 mm bullets and a hunting knife.
Wallflowers take note: Canadian fashion designer Ying Gao incorporated an eye-tracking system into two of her dresses so they transform when a fixed gaze is detected. Tiny motors in the dress activate lights inside and the fabric begins moving around.
Engineer Moritz Waldemeyer may be more well known for helping fashion designers put lasers on jackets and video displays on bikinis, but his collaboration with Cypriot fashion designer Hussein Chalayan produced robotic dresses. Servo-driven motors, pulleys and wires fed through hollow tubes sewn into the dresses allowed them to automatically change styles completely in minutes.
Design lab Sensoree's GER Mood Sweater works like a mood ring, only better -- and with more coverage. Sensors pick up "excitement levels" that change the colored LEDs inside accordingly. Different colors correspond with certain types of emotions although blue means tranquil, not necessarily down.
When consulting a smartphone for directions feels too gauche, there's the Navigate Jacket from New York-based tech company Wearable Experiments. The jacket contains connects to a smartphone app and subtly nudges the wearer to his or her destination through haptic feedback and lights in the sleeve that indicate how far until the next turn.
Mark Vorreuter / Cornell University
A team from Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University created workout clothes with fabric that loses color as the wearer's temperature rises. This thermochromic pigment-based approach to activewear could prevent athletes from over-heating.
EBbra, Flickr Creative Commons
Some bras already have wires so it's easy to see why designers would add on, allowing them to do things like send a tweet when one comes off or send out shocks to deter would-be rapists. Elena Bodnar went another direction, creating an Emergency Bra that contains a radiation sensor and can transform quickly into two face masks.
Police officers across London will wear video cameras when responding to emergency calls as part of a year-long pilot project launched on Thursday. A total of 500 cameras will routinely collect evidence from public order and domestic abuse incidents in 10 of London's 32 boroughs, as well as potentially contentious "stop and searches," Scotland Yard said.
The force has been testing body-worn cameras for several years but was given new impetus following the police shooting of suspected gang member Mark Duggan in 2011, which sparked days of rioting in the capital and cities across England.
An inquest jury in January found the killing was lawful but the coroner noted the "stark problem" posed by contradictions between the notes from officers at the scene and mobile phone video evidence taken by witnesses. Scotland Yard Commissioner Hogan-Howe said at the time that armed police would in future wear video cameras to ensure a more accurate record was made of their actions.
The police chief said Thursday that the cameras, being trialled by unarmed officers, could also deter people from becoming violent towards police and speed up justice by providing a compelling reason for criminals to plead guilty.
"I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when it's been alleged that we got things wrong," he said. "That has to be in both our own and the public's interest."
The data from the cameras will be uploaded at the end of every officer's shift and kept on file for a month before being deleted, unless it is required as evidence.
The cameras will not be permanently switched on and officers, who will wear them on their stab vests, have been told to alert members of the public "as soon as practical" that they are being recorded. Failure to switch on the cameras as directed in police guidance will be treated as a disciplinary offense, Hogan-Howe said.