ABC Channel 7’s “The Gadget Patrol” features interview with UIC / EVL Andrew Johnson

Participants: Andrew Johnson


ABC Channel 7 Chicago

The ABC Channel 7 10pm news, on July 9, 2014, did a story on “The Gadget Patrol” that focused on how today’s police officers are being outfitted with wearable technology. In Illinois, the first step for many departments is body-worn cameras that catch in real time what’s really happening at a crime scene or on a hectic call.

To understand future trends, reporter Ross Weidner visited the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) and spoke to UIC Computer Science associate professor and EVL director of research Andrew Johnson. “I think cameras really are the first step. I think the idea of having that Robocop level display is going to be a reality very soon if not already,” Andrew Johnson explained.

Flanked by images of some of EVL’s research in “human augmentics” - an EVL term that refers to wearable technologies to enable people to improve and/or enhance their abilities to interact with the environment - Johnson then described the SpiderSense project. SpiderSense has sensors strapped to the body that can detect nearby obstacles and then provide tactile signals to the wearers when they get close. Johnson explains that devices such as this “…could be used by police to see in a dark room or sense if someone is sneaking up on them.”

“‘I think for law enforcement officers, the big gain [in wearable technology] is seeing what the context is, knowing what is the neighborhood like, what are potential threats in the neighborhood, where are the other people, where are the other officers, how far away is backup? Having a lot of information that could be useful to you and being able to prioritize that information in order to do your job better, keep people safer,’ said Johnson.”

Watch the ABC Channel 7 news story and read the transcript.

More information on the UIC / EVL SpiderSense project


Date: July 9, 2014
SpiderSense - L. Long, EVL

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