Combine tiny video cams and a satellite link, and the troops have a new way to collect better intelligence more quickly. All thanks to skateboarders who like to make their own, heart stopping, videos.
After noting how more and more soldiers were buying its wearable cameras, V.I.O,, Inc came out with a military version. Actually, the Vio Tac S.C.O.U.T Cam is a more rugged, more capable and more expensive version of the sport cams the company has been selling for several years. Commonly called lipstick (because of their size) cams, they first appeared in the 1990s, and became popular as a way for people to take videos of their more energetic activities (soccer, mountain biking, paint-ball battles, Etc.) Journalists, police and soldiers began using them as well. The compact video tape equipment (about the size of a paperback book) could be hung on a belt, and connected to the lipstick cam via a wire. Now there are memory stick type video recorders that are even smaller and more rugged, as well as iPod type mini-hard drives that can store over a dozen hours of hi rez video.
The Tac S.C.O.U.T Cam can operate in low-light conditions, creates broadcast quality images (520 TV line resolution), and can be used with five different lenses and neutral density sun filters. Military users are experimenting with using these cams to broadcast, in real time, what troops are seeing. Ultimately, the military wants to equip all vehicles, and many individual infantrymen, with these cams, all linked via a wireless network.