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Designing for Wearables by Scott Sullivan

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Chapter 5. Wearable Cameras

Cameras present a huge opportunity for the wearables industry, yet they’re held back by some of the most difficult social design constraints. What makes cameras highly valuable as an input device is the same thing that makes them socially dangerous: the amount of data that they collect. You have a sensor that collects enormous amounts of highly detailed visual information, but the collection of such detailed information is far from socially acceptable because of privacy concerns. The second issue that comes from this massive amount of data is what to do with it—how can we make this information useful and easily accessible when there’s so much of it. In this chapter, we discuss why and how people use wearable cameras today, design decisions that mediate social issues around wearing a camera in public, what to do with the massive amounts of data that needs to be stored and used, and opportunities for future services that we can build from this type of information.

We typically use cameras in three different ways: reactively, actively, and passively. Reactive capture is when we see something we want to take a picture of (typically pull out our phone) and quickly try to save the image; this is how most people use cameras. Active capture is when you turn the camera on proactively to capture something; this differs from reactive capture because you’re not reacting to the moment or subject of capture, and this is the way we typically use video cameras like the ...

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