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December 30, 2013 AT 5:00 pm

The New Armor That Lets You Sense Surveillance Cameras

Ever feel like you’re being watched? Is Big Brother bringing you down? Well you might just be in the market for this “creepy digital tap on the shoulder”. The Atlantic has more here.

We pass under surveillance cameras every day, appearing on perhaps hundreds of minutes of film. We rarely notice them. London-based artist James Bridle would like to remind us.

Bridle has created a wearable device he calls the “surveillance spaulder.” Inspired by the original spaulder—a piece of medieval plate armor that protected “the wearer from unexpected and unseen blows from above”—the surveillance spaulder alerts the wearer to similarly unseen, if electronic, attacks. Whenever its sensor detects the the type of infrared lighting commonly used with surveillance cameras, it sends an electric signal to two “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation” pads, which causes the wearer to twitch.

But Bridle’s spaulder has a slightly different goal. Instead of obstructing cameras and algorithms, it merely alerts the wearer to their presence. It’s a technology—and an art project—of reminding. The surveillance spaulder provides a “a tap on the shoulder,” Bridle writes, “every time one comes under the gaze of power.”

Read more.


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