Google Glass for Police Brings Us Closer to a RoboCop Reality

Illustration for article titled Google Glass for Police Brings Us Closer to a RoboCop Reality

Ok Glass, you can hear the cop now. Take a picture of that license plate. Try: Ok Glass. Record a video of this five alarm fire. Or even: Ok Glass. Search: gunshot wound treatment. It doesn't take much imagination to realize that Google Glass could be a valuable tool for first responders. And now, the first app has popped up that could make it a reality.

The industry that keeps our police officers, firefighters and EMT workers equipped is hip to the possibilities of Glass, and just revealed the first ever Glassware for public safety. Mutualink, a company that makes equipment for everyone from NATO peacekeeping troops to local police forces, just revealed that app at APCO, a conference for public safety communications. Mutualink provided a few examples of how the app could be used in a press release:

  • Firemen reviewing the schematic of a building before entering and while navigating a burning structure
  • EMTs triaging patients at the scene of an accident with current medical records of victims
  • Police being able to watch video feed from school security cameras in real-time during an active shooter scenario.

Sounds pretty futuristic! Maybe a little too futuristic. The privacy concerns that run rampant around all things Glass-related are surely amplified when you think about cops and medical workers using the device. As TechCrunch points out, the idea of New York City police officers wearing cameras on their uniforms is already causing all sorts of controversy. An internet-connected device that can take photo or video in relative secrecy certainly won't be better received.

On the other hand, who doesn't want emergency workers to be able to do their jobs better? Imagine if EMTs were taking pictures of injuries and beaming them back to the hospital so that the emergency room will be better prepared for the patient. Mutualink, meanwhile, has made privacy a top priority when developing the new software, so the data that's recorded through the app will be protected.

When you really take a step back, it's easy to realize that this is only the beginning. We are heading towards some Robocop-inspired future, but keep in mind these things take time, both to sort out the privacy concerns to perfect the technology.

As long as these tools help our public safety workers do their jobs better, though, everybody stands to benefit. Except the criminals. They're screwed. [TechCrunch]


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SFFD just banned the use of helmet mounted cameras in the wake of the Asiana flight disaster and subsequent death investigation. This appears to be a face-saving move, attempting to head off calls of negligence or otherwise in the name of "privacy" and "safety". These surveillance tools can do wonders to aid the defense of first responders, but it can also be used to highlight negligence, incompetence, or wrong doing. It pretty much only takes one incident of the latter before the Chief wants to shut the whole system off...