Monday, January 28, 2008

FIDO Police Dog Camera

Fido Police dog cameraIndustrial Television Limited of the UK have produced the FIDO Police Dog Camera. Like something out of the TV show Kommissar Rex (Inspector Rex), this is a wireless camera strapped to the head of a police dog for searching buildings.

While the unit on the dog is small, the operator's console is a cumbersome device worn on the chest, which includes a video tape recorder. A much smaller device would be possible if wireless broadband access was available.

There is also an optional kit available to attach the camera to a pole, for inspecting hard to read spaces in a building, which even Inspector Rex could not reach. Perhaps there should be a domestic version for inspecting the guttering at home. ;-)
The FIDO equipment is designed to meet the requirements of dog intervention and search operations, normally associated with firearms units engaged in building search activity.

Existing systems are heavy and cumbersome, and FIDO addresses both shortcomings with a simpler more user-friendly design, which reduces the weight carried by the dog by over 75%. This enables the dog to negotiate steep downward slopes without danger of overbalancing and also considerably reduces fatigue.

The system comprises a miniature television camera and radio transmitter mounted on a lightweight head harness. There is a quick-release facility, allowing the harness to be worn at all times the dog is operational if required whilst the camera is attached only when needed. Rechargeable batteries are contained in a collar, the attachment of the camera to the harness automatically making the required electrical connection.

To allow operation in darkness, infra-red lights are incorporated in the camera housing, and provide pictures in total darkness to a range of 3-5 metres from the dog.

An audio facility can be provided if required, allowing the handler to listen to any activity in the area of the dog.

Pictures are viewed on a combined video recorder/monitor/receiver unit carried by the handler. This unit is provided with a neck strap and waist belt to allow easy mobility whilst leaving the hands free.

The equipment is supplied with spare batteries for the camera and recorder units, each having a charger to allow rapid recharging. The depleted batteries that are removed from the equipment can be recharged more rapidly than they will run down in use, allowing continuous availability. ...

Police Dog Camera (FIDO) - Provisional specification:

Camera: High-resolution monochrome unit (colour is an option, but is not suitable for use in dark conditions); 75 degree angle of view (others optional).
Battery life with standard battery pack: Approximately 2.5 hours.
Weight: Total weight to be carried by dog is approximately 400g
Recorder/receiver: 8mm tape, digital recording, colour monitor with audio facility.
Battery life: Up to 8 hours
Range indoors will depend on local conditions and building structure; it is most unlikely that any domestic premises will be large enough to lose signal. The system has been tested in industrial premises and has provided excellent pictures through three floors and 100 metres of building. Outdoors range will be in excess of 500 metres.

An alternative version is available for users who already possess recording facilities, for example an existing camcorder or similar unit. This has a base station comprising a receiver/monitor unit only with a video output for the external recording device.

From: Police Dog Camera (FIDO) - General description, Industrial Television Limited, 2007

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