The unblinking “Gorgon Stare,” the Air Force's new sensor package for aerial drones like the MQ-9 Reaper, is billed as one of the most game-changing intelligence tools to ever hit the modern battlefield: a nine (or more) camera array offering city-wide views of an area in real time simultaneously to dozens of soldiers on the ground.
Add corrections officers to the list of workers at risk of being replaced by machines. Recently demonstrated computer-vision systems can analyze imagery provided by cameras perched in prison yards, recognizing faces, gestures, and unfolding incidents and warning guards if, say, two groups of inmates appear hostile. It’s one of a smattering of experimental computer-vision systems highlighted in a New York Times piece examining how smart, observant computers may soon document our every move.
The military’s unblinking eye in the sky, which keeps watch over operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is about to get even beadier. A new multi-camera sensor the U.S. Air Force is adding to its killer spy drones will exponentially broaden the area troops can monitor, and the technology lets a dozen users simultaneously grab different slices of the image. Called the Gorgon Stare, it represents the next big step in unmanned combat aircraft.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.