Friday, March 9, 2012

Mini-Quadcopters: Fireman's Best Friend or Court's Watchdog?

Thousands of them swarm over the horizon like insects attracted to ultraviolet lights. Each one equips an infrared camera as well as another set for high-dynamic photo-sensitivity. The infrared camera adds an ultra-dynamic range on top of the high-dynamic range cameras, which lets the viewer see in and out of shadows quicker while the infrared camera senses heat. Currently available technology allows more stationary cameras posted around cities for enhanced fire detection, and firefighter agencies have gained more interest in surveillance by mini-quadcopters.

There is practically no argument against the use of surveillance for fire prevention. Maybe the main reason is that non-camera, heat sensors work where cameras are an invasion of privacy, like restrooms. Today's technology lets us mobilize the heat sensors and other cameras easier. We have seen mini-quadcopters fly over the nature areas around the rivers while crowds like Occupy and homeless caused concern with their camps. In national forests, the forestry departments prescribed burns of specific areas, which also requires surveillance. The mini-quadcopters allowed swift and quiet movement through the areas and much less down draft than the larger helicopters. More mini-quadcopters means more coverage in surveillance.

We know the military now uses drones for their missions, so that drone technology weighs in on the practicality of swarms of mini-quadcopters. One person remotely controlled one mini-quadcopters, yet with drone technology, one person could remotely shepard thosounds of the mini-quadcopters. Students of universities interested in mini-quadcopters also further advanced mini-quadcopters with self-awareness to the environment and auto-corrective movements. The mini-quadcopters self-corrected their flight through heavy wind, for example. Mini-quadcopters also have shown house-fly like behavior while they land sideways and upside down on walls and ceilings. When the mini-quadcopter is in drone mode and detects any fire, it may land itself on any nearby surface, alert the drone shepard with its location, and zoom the camera on the fire.

With such surveillance means now possible and with many court orders that require supervision of people for various reason, it surprises me that the court has not shepardized there own fleet of mini-quadcopters. Besides surveillance of “person's of interest” or people on their “own recognizance,” there are many cases with orders for supervision in custody matters, for example. One of the parties pays for some third party that acts as the supervisor, yet the rates for such supervision usually cost more than the typical wages cover. It's hard for someone that earns only $10 to $20 an hour when licensed supervisors charge $100 an hour on up. When someone can afford some ordered supervision, then that time slot barely covers quality time in the custody matter, which potentially is further detrimental. Those are average wages, so that is the usual case, and much the supervision goes unfilled in various cases. Compare the cost of one licensed supervisor on site to one licensed supervisors that helps shepard many drones, one per site. With that in mind, those supervision orders may get fulfilled if the cost is split. Take in account that one daycare provider may have up to 12 children.

For some reason, the Court has not acknowledged use of the Internet or any metaversal means for supervision. The court even ignores Internet Telephony and Video Conference webcam gadgets even if it is the only means of communication in custody matters. Of course, such long-distance conferences is not the best means for quality time within custody matters; the Law, however, states the Court must favor the such communication (and assume the custodian will provide such means). Given the technology available, there is no excuse for continual ignorance of the Law by the Court and by the custodial party. We even tried online games like World of Warcraft for some means of quality time, yet the custodian pulled the connection and the Court ignored such custodian's interference, which is against the Law.

I kept in mind the interest that firemen have had in mini-quadcopters such that the technology possibly extends to cases of missing children. Possibly the quality surveillance of our environment also extends to the quality of our homes and families. People worry about Big Brother surveillance, yet the above only shows another technological set-back where there is potential assistance that awaits. With the infrared cams and quiet movements of mini-quadcopters, the city parks could have further surveillance (evidence, and prevention), especially overnight (with the recent Rosemont case in mind).

“Beware of Dog”

P.S. The law term “non-custodial parent” created its stigma despite the goodness of the parties, especially when there are children from multiple parents or through adoption. The Child-Support Agents and Court Mediators haven't allowed one parent as custodian of one child and non-custodian of another, as that condition breaks their “equation”. Families have entered the courts, the Court applied the equation, and what was family now became only winners and losers out the court's door.