Buildings talking to computers

A few months ago I read an article on how Gordon Bell is digitising and saving much of his life including all his email, web browsing and even wearing a camera all the time that takes a photo every few seconds.

The problem I can see with wearing a camera and microphone at all times is that sometimes you are going to be in situations where you don't want to record. The obvious ones would include areas like changing rooms and toilets where people are naked with an expectation of not being recorded and also places like research labs, airports, military bases and movie theatres where the residents forbid recording.

The problem is that if you are wearing a camera 80 percent of the time then you will sometimes forget to turn it off in the above areas which could cause embarrassment or even get you arrested.

The solution would seem to be that the camera can in some way sense that it should stop taking photos (at least without manual intervention). After a bit of thinking it occurs to me that using 2D bar codes like Sample bar code to encode regulations might work.

Using bar codes means that they would be automatically be picked up by the camera and acted on. The idea could be further developed by using a short range wireless technology to transmit the message to non-video equipped devices.

The actual message format should be something that is standardised to that different devices could understand it. Things like "No video recording" , "No audio recording" and "Mute speakers" come to mind. I guess somebody will create an XML standard. Some sort of authorisation could be added and normal fraud laws should be enough to stop me pining a sign on my shirt and turning off cellphones on the street.

Posted 2007-05-06