CCTV-dominated public spaces are no longer just backdrops in sci-fi novels. Camera technology of all types will profoundly alter the way we interact with each other, says Peter Cochrane. Over 10 years ago I had the very first black and white sub-miniature electronic camera using a single charge coupled device and ball lens. After experimenting for a few days I took the radical step of drilling a hole in my security badge and mounting the camera at the back. I then wore it while giving a lecture to a 600 strong audience and at a suitable point I operated a switch secreted in my pocket to put the image from the camera up onto a large 4m screen. As I stepped into the audience the person I was addressing suddenly saw their face full size on the screen. The reaction from the subject and audience was breathtaking. The discussion that followed quickly focused on the implications of this new camera technology and what it might do. At that time no one could see that a crude black and white technology costing over £500 would, by today, be full colour and high resolution, and less than £5. Not only are today
Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.