IMU (2006)

Average American is caught on camera more than 200 times a day. It is obvious no one now can be in public without being public. There is a fine line between surveillance and voyeurism although it still is legal for hidden cams to capture fitting rooms or restrooms in some US states.

Surveillance cameras are supposed to discourage crimes, and aid post-event investigations. It still is debated whether these cameras work as a deterrent, yet they are virtually everywhere, considering 10000 and growing numbers in Chicago only, installed by the authority.

Panasonic’s self-powered, RFID-Equipped monitoring apparatus

Since 9/11 public favors higher security measure as a necessity yet the use of such devices to general public is controversial. “In order to protect innocent citizens,” anyone is suspected as a possible criminal. In the last decade there has been great proliferation of surveillance cams in public. Accompanied with fast evolving technology, living in a crime-free city has never seemed so realistic.

Moreover, facial recognition system is now highly dependable. The biggest advantage of facial recognition from other biometric system is to scan without consent of the ones being scanned. Over 75 million photographs are used to data-match when processing U.S. visa. Also during Super Bowl XXXV, in January 2001 the system was deployed at the stadium to search for known terrorists or criminals. Despite the controversy whether it is an invasion of human rights, the system proved its effectiveness by finding 19 people with arrest warrant at the Super Bowl game in Tampa, FL in 2001.

The situation in this proximity to Big Brother-like state of constant surveillance, leads to an idea that urban inhabiting citizen as inmates in the Panopticon. Proposed by Jeremy Bentham, guard tower in the center of the structure is dim while jail cells are lit, therefore the inmates are not able to tell if they are watched while warders may or may not be watching, thus discourages misbehaving as well as saves resources.

Section view and floor plan of the Panopticon

Presidio Model, and inactive Panopticon in Cuba

Yet crimes persist, ironically at one of the most obviously monitored places such as banks and jewelries. Criminals often neutralize visual identification by simply covering faces to disguises. Superheroes also take advantage of this to avoid compromising and many times they are given an alter ego, therefore behavior changes.

Build a Device That Makes Someone

1. Unrecognizable by surveillance cameras

2. Promotes an Alter Ego

Something like... this

World leaders

World leaders with the device on (fictional)

Identity Disguising Device

A small camcorder to capture the face of a person in front and display on LCD screen.

You are me and I am you.