With everything that has been going on lately, public safety is a main concern. In an attempt to increase public safety, several police departments are adopting body-worn cameras. While improvement on basic guidelines is still necessary, body-worn cameras are a major step forward.
Supporters of body-worn camera programs applaud the increased transparency and accountability that these tools provide. Because these cameras can record officer interactions with the public, this helps to bring clarity to day-to-day situations. This footage becomes even more helpful when details are unclear and stories conflict. Aside from this, officers and civilians alike can be held accountable for their actions, thus promoting public safety.
While these are in place with the public in mind, they can also help officers defend their actions when complaints are filed. An interim report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing from March 2015 found that there were fewer incidents of force and fewer complaints with officers donning body worn cameras than those without.
Criticism of these programs is related to privacy issues, footage review and public viewing policies. Many say that without public access to the footage, officer accountability will remain unchanged. For example, a North Carolina law makes dash cam and body cam footage exempt from public record. Also being argued is the fact that some jurisdictions allow officers to review the footage before they write their reports. This, combined with no public access to footage, creates an upper hand for the officers as they can shape their story based on the available evidence.
While this is an important concern, this is not the case for all departments as rules and regulations vary. Since the outlook for these cameras seems promising, guidelines regarding use and public access must be improved. Making these policies available for the public to review allows for better trust for law enforcement.
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The demand for wearable technology seems to be growing. From smart watches to fitness sensors, the use for wearable tech spans a wide spectrum. While novelty uses are often highlighted in the media, wearable devices can have a great impact on the visually impaired also.
A wearable, collision warning device is making its way to the market. The device is worn on a person’s chest to prevent unnecessary collisions. Rather than being based on proximity, the device would instead evaluate the time to collision and issue a warning as necessary. For example, while wearing the device, if something is headed into your path or if you’re going to walk into something, it delivers a beeping alert.
This wearable device can be beneficial to all visually impaired persons, but is especially suited for those with fading or lost peripheral vision. In comparison to other visually impaired persons, these individuals are not conditioned to be alert for impending dangers that they cannot see.
In controlled settings, a study conducted by Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear at Schepens Research Institute showed that accidents were reduced by 37% with minimal change in patient walking speeds. Next, the researchers are looking to test these devices in real world situations. If results return favorable outcomes, we may see this wearable device sooner than later.
While it’s great that this wearable device is gaining attention, it’s not the first in the field of assistive tech devices for the visually impaired. A prototype system of a head-mounted camera that produces 3D maps was introduced in 2009, and Tacit is a wrist-worn device that provides haptic feedback through sonar pulses. There are also walking sticks which house advanced technology and robot guides that act as guide dogs in stair-free environments.
These devices are helpful, but are much more high tech in comparison to this collision warning wearable device. How do you think this device, or any of the others mentioned, will have a lasting impact on the visually impaired? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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Wearable technology has evolved right before our eyes. Our childhood experiences vary drastically from the children growing up today. As we hone our technology and the Internet of Things, we are subsequently changing the learning environment for our children.
Wearable technology can and will have a positive and enriching impact on the classroom, namely, field trips. In the early stages, wearable tech will enhance the experience, allowing for students to more actively engage in the learning experience. As wearable tech advances, data gathered from field trips will be easier to record, consume, and share across various networks. Eventually students from around the world could potentially be sharing learning experiences and helping each other.
For in-person field trips, students will soon be able to scan QR codes or capture images to find out more information, whether it is in the form of text, video or audio. Enabling students to do so will encourage participation and the first-hand interaction will help them better understand the learning objectives.
After the field trip, rather than a simple discussion, students can take photos or record audio and video to bring back to the classroom. They can share their experiences with peers within the classroom, and even through social media. This will enable lessons and information to reach students across the world.
Virtual reality can take field trips to a whole new level. Students will be able to enjoy and experience things we never thought possible. In lieu of in person field trips, virtual reality headsets could bring the experience to the classroom. Students would be able to virtually explore the Grand Canyon, Ancient Greece, and the depths of the ocean, all in one day and without leaving school. This advanced tech helps kids tap into their imaginative and creative side while teaching students great interpersonal skills.
Such an immersive learning environment is promising for young students. This will hopefully encourage students to be more involved in the curriculum, and persuade students to continue their education into college and graduate school. Knowledge is power, and with new technology, this power is strengthened.
What are your thoughts on wearable technology and its impact on school and education? Do you have young children in school who use some of this technology? How has it helped your children? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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The recent controversy surrounding police officers in Ferguson, MO, is hard to ignore. The fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown made headlines. There are different sides to the story. Witness accounts claim Brown was trying to surrender, arms in the air when he was fatally shot. Police state that as the officer was trying to exit the vehicle, Brown pushed in back in and there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon. Tension between officers and the black community has only worsened since this incident.
The obvious clashing of viewpoints has caused quite an uproar. With protests spanning from violent to peaceful, the media coverage has provided an opportunity to make each sides’ voice heard.
Because it is unclear what exactly happened that night, the push for officers to wear body worn cameras when in uniform has been strong. Many feel that this may decrease incidences of excessive force as well as attacks on officers. As previously discussed in our blog, body worn cameras for police officers have been tested in pilot programs, however, reports of effectiveness have varied.
Here in California, City of Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown is pushing for the use of these cameras. In a letter released on August 15, 2014, the mayor wrote, “I am simply not willing to gamble with a single life, or the wrongful accusation of upstanding officers.” While these body worn cameras can possibly produce helpful evidence while deterring misbehavior from officers and the public alike, the costs run fairly high. Each camera can run up to $800-$1000 per officer. This expense is a large part of why most police departments have refrained from adopting the program.
As with use of any type of security camera, privacy concerns arise. A possible solution to this would leave it up to the officer’s discretion to turn the cameras on and off. However, human error can cause suspicions. Missing footage because an officer forgot to turn on the camera could spark much controversy depending on the case. Also, taking time to turn the cameras on and off can distract officers and compromise safety for both themselves and the public.
With recent events and what we know about body worn cameras, do you think employing them on our officers would help decrease violence and crimes? Or do you think these cameras be a waste of funds? We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
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