When the Tokyo Marathon was held on Feb. 26, major security firm Secom Co. lifted a balloon equipped with cameras from a building near the finish line in front of JR Tokyo Station and deployed vehicles equipped with a radar system that can detect drones. The building stands at 35 meters, and the balloon, connected with a wire from the roof, was equipped with two kinds of cameras, one with a zoom lens and another showing thermal images, according to Secom adviser Tsuneo Komatsuzaki. In addition, the firm deployed vehicles equipped with radars to detect drones, as well as cameras worn by security guards and stationary cameras to monitor the entire area. "We identify suspicious individuals and predict how the crowd moves next, helping us to prevent an accident," Komatsuzaki said. Public and private entities are beefing up surveillance to combat terrorism amid the ongoing debate in the Diet over a conspiracy bill to punish people for just planning to conduct serious crimes.
The ubiquitous appearances of dashcam crash footage in news reports and on TV shows has apparently spurred demand for in-vehicle video cameras in Japan as motorists seek additional legal protection in case of accidents. The surge in demand has seen at least one major auto parts and accessories retailer in Tokyo's Koto Ward set up a special section to sell and install dashcams. "Products priced at around ¥25,000 ($225) are selling well," a clerk there said. An increasing number of people are installing both front and rear dashcams to record evidence in the event of traffic accidents, the clerk said. Models that activate automatically in response vehicles being hit or jolted while parked are also in growing demand.
Some say the best way to catch a criminal is to be one-step ahead, but a California startup believes it is better to be one-step above. Aptonomy has developed a self-flying drone that it claims is much cheaper than employing humans, and more effective than cameras and alarms. Dubbed'flying security guard', the drone is an octocopter equipped with cameras, a loudspeaker and blinding lights to scare unwanted visitors away. The team modified a DJI Spreading Wings S100 drones by adding the cameras and computers that navigate the drones around the property, avoid obstacles and search for things that should not be present in its range. Drones are programmed with the area to patrol and spots unwanted intruders with its onboard cameras.
Japan's rapidly aging society is spurring technological innovation, including the use of a tracking system designed to help families and nursing facilities locate people suffering from dementia when they lose their way or go missing. As the country with the most aged population, Japan is poised to see its postwar baby-boomer generation -- currently the biggest age demographic -- form a population stratum aged 75 or older by 2025. With the help of a smartphone app, thumb-size portable electronic devices developed by Sohgo Security Services, popularly known as ALSOK, that can be placed in pockets, wallets or attached to shoes are expected to help quickly find dementia sufferers who go missing. The system works using Bluetooth wireless technology -- the standard for exchanging data over short distances. It might be difficult for a resident of a community to notice a person with dementia who is simply wandering the streets.
"They tirelessly patrol outside your property around the clock, and actively deter crime by establishing physical presence at the site," the San Francisco startup Aptonomy said on its website. "[Smart] drones live on your property, and get to know it well. In a live monitoring scenario, you can adjust the drone's viewpoint and move it around safety in real-time – even from hundreds of miles away." Special features of the security drone are a flight controller, day and night vision cameras, strobe lighting and loudspeakers built on top of the DJI S-1000, a camera-carrying octocopter, the type most often used by movie-makers. The security drone's artificial intelligence hardware and navigational systems allow it to fly low and fast, avoiding obstacles in structure-dense environments to detect human activity or faces.