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IP Cameras - Larry Niven's Webeye?

It's not like there is a shortage of surveillance cameras; the NYC Surveillance Camera Project recently reported that there are 2,397 cameras in Manhattan alone. And the technology is just getting easier.

IP cameras are providing a real short-cut for the surveillance-minded. All that is required is a nearby wireless network; just place and point the camera. The camera comes with it's own internet address. If you want to see what the camera sees, just type in the URL.

In his novel The Ringworld Throne, writer Larry Niven refers to a surveillance system that includes olfactory input, as well as the usual video and audio, that could be placed anywhere:

His eyes roved the ceiling and walls. He found what he sought: a glittering fractal spiderweb just under the great orange bulb at the apex of the dome.

Chmeee said, "We have a spy. I thought as much, but now we know it. The puppeteer placed cameras among us. (More.)"

The name for this device, appropriately, is a "webeye".

Read more about present day webeyes here and at the NYC Surveillance Camera Project.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/8/2004)

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