Big Brother is watching you… watching him… watching you… watching him…

Seeing that I’m a bit of a shutterbug on the side as well as a tech freak/geek, this little birdy caught my eye:

It’s the DraganFlyer X6, a remote controlled helicopter with camera attached. Any gadget-madmen amongst us must surely salivate at the idea. As will voyeurs, photographers, and voyeuristic photographers. It has a range of 8000 ft, and built-in stabiliser sensors mean you can tell it to hover round while you concentrate on your photographer. The version that the What Digital Camera reporter hot his hands on carries a Panasonic Lumix LX3, though apparently there are 3 others to choose from.
All sounds great, huh? So what’s the catch? £21,585 plus VAT.
But those of us who lack pockets overflowing with gold sovereigns don’t have to sit to one side of the playground, weeping piteously while everyone else wants to hang with the kid with the DraganFlyer. Reading the What Digital Camera article stirred something deep in my memory, and a quick google sussed it out – check out this video from the DefCon 17 archives. And a video google for “quadrotor” turns up a whole bunch of projects where hackers are building remote controlled flying vehicles with live camera connections. A good few of them are autonomous too – meaning they are robotic birds!
Of course the authorities love kit like this… so long as it’s the forces of law and over at the controls. Many countries (the UK included) strictly restrict where and how remote controlled vehicles can be operated. All under the blanket excuse of “safety”. And “security” too, no doubt. Just think of all those terrorists spying on us through our bedroom windows, or delivering bombs to high-rise high-profile targets! OMG I’m terrified!
I certainly do dread the thought of big brother sending out flocks of quadrotors to do their evil bidding. But the mass of detail out there on the interwebs about hackers’ projects to develop the same kind of thing for a much smaller budget makes me feel a little better. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having one of these things for myself. For its photography potential, of course: just think of all those shots that would be otherwise unobtainable… like the flash of claw and fang of a murderous pussycat that mistakes your quadrotor for a quick snack…

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