As every covert agent knows, it’s hard to keep up with housework when you’re always lurking behind corners, evading double agents, and thinking of ever more complex ways of mixing martinis. With the new robotic spying vacuum, life just got easier.
Dubbed the Tango View, Samsung’s latest robotic vacuum model is like a mixture of one of James Bond’s gadgets and the Jetsons’ Rosie the robot: In vacuum mode, it automatically maneuvers around your home, making your floors (nearly) spotless just like a Roomba; in surveillance mode, you can guide the robot via remote control and have it live-stream video to your smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets. Thanks to its microphone and low-light camera, you can drive the robot around your house and secretly listen and watch your friends and family. (We’re not condoning this kind of paranoid behavior, by the way.)
So at the convenience of your couch, you can check on the family pet, see what your kids are up to, or just snoop around unbeknownst to anybody else (it’s “just vacuuming,” after all). From asking your spouse a question in another room to investigating things that go bump in the night, this secret agent vacuum can act as your eyes and ears when you’re too lazy or scared or on-another-continent to look yourself.
If you live in Korea, the Tango View could be yours for $700, which may seem like a hefty price considering it has a major flaw: It cannot spy and vacuum at the same time. Even a robotic spy isn’t perfect.
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Just as Beethoven suffered through hearing loss and Hemingway struggled with depression, an artist at New York University is also suffering for his art, but in a slightly different way: his body has rejected part of the camera that he implanted in his head.
Back in November, Wafaa Bilal, an NYU photography professor, embarked on a novel art experiment: he went to a Los Angeles tattoo shop and had a titanium base inserted behind the skin on the back of his head. Three posts that extended from this insert were then attached to a camera that snapped pictures once a minute, viewable to everyone on his website.
Move over all you Webcasters who stream your life on Justin.tv. Now, 36-year-old filmmaker Rob Spence claims to have a better way of filming his life — he wants to implant a wireless video camera in his eye socket, to record (and reveal to the whole world) everything he sees.
After a shotgun accident cost Spence an eye at age 13, he eventually had his eye surgically removed and replaced with a prosthetic one. And now he sees a way to exploit his loss of sight by essentially creating a video crew in his eye socket.
Of course, actually building an eye camera is quite a feat of engineering. It involves getting a tiny camera (8 square mm for an imaging sensor) into a prosthetic eye, then figuring out how to relay images with a wireless transmitter on a circuit board, and finally streaming the whole thing live on the Internet.