British Army Helmet Cams

helmet_cam.jpg

Once again, military technology from the 1986 film ‘Aliens’ shows up on the battlefield. Though these cameras are the personal property of the British troops and are not directly networked back to leadership, it’s only a matter of time.

But the common worry that new digital media brings hasn’t gone anywhere:

While use of the helmet- mounted cameras has given the public unprecedented access to the dangerous, but exciting world of warfare, senior officers are understood to be growing increasingly concerned about the trend.

Some believe that it is only a matter of time before a British soldier is killed while trying to take so called “happy snaps” or that footage of a British soldier being killed in action appears on the internet.

Footage shot by the troops available at Shot in battle, by the video soldiers. Astounding. (Though I don’t quite understand what’s up with the windows at the very end of the daylight video.)

Comments

  1. I wonder why they bother with 32MB SD cards. 256, 512 and above are barely any more expensive and would allow one to start filming in the morning and not have to worry about fiddling with it at all until back at base. Seems like you wouldn’t want to be pressing buttons while out in the field.

  2. I was wondering the same thing as well, Nicholas. Best Buy here had three 1GB SD cards for $59 and a $10 mail-in rebate. And it wasn’t just a Friday sale, either. Runs all week. FWIW, I don’t know that I’m buying the ‘up to one hour’s filming’ for a 32MB card. My guess is that either the reporter didn’t have his facts straight (No, really! It’s happened before!) or the time refers to larger cards.

  3. Okay: Tiger Direct says ‘With 32 MB of memory, you can capture several minutes of action for your videos’ about the actual Digital Blue Tony Hawk Helmet Cam. Despite its coolness factor, it appears to be more of a toy than anything. Some toy, though.

  4. Yeah, semi-decent video quality would be around 1mbit. That’s 1 megabyte every 8 seconds. So 1GB would get you over two hours of video, or a bit less at higher quality. Not bad. 32MB would get you squat (or more accurately, around 4 minutes). Sounds like the reporter got the memory size it comes with confused with the recording time you get with a more sensible amount.

  5. Ummm…2GB SD cards are ~$20 in bulk, 4GB cards are ~$50 in bulk. ($25-30 & $60-70 for consumers) If 32MB gets you one hour, 2GB would get you 64 hours, or almost 3 days straight. 32MB is just rediculous, but luckily a card is so easily replacable, it’s not like they crippled the system for its lifetime.

  6. The weapon does look a bit like an M41A, but the M41A wasn’t a ‘bullpup’. You can see the magazine for the weapon, an L85, below the soldier’s wrist (*behind* the trigger and pistol grip). But performance-wise it’s probably comparable to an M41A as portrayed in the film.

  7. See, the reason they look the same to me is that I have no idea what the term ‘bullpup’ means. I know, I know…What am I doing on a site like this. Stirring things up, on a good day. 🙂

  8. Bull-pup’ means when you pull the trigger, a rabid bovine/canine hybrid creature is deployed, which gores and mauls the target. Nah, actually it just means the gun’s main mechanism – the feeding mechanism, chamber, etc. – is behind the main hand-grip. Most semi-auto pistols place the magazine inside the grip, so the firing mechanism is directly above it. This is fine since it is the rear of the gun, and the barrel projects out in front. However, most rifles place the magazine in front of the hand-grip (variously, underneath, above, or to the side) so the firing mechanism is in front of where the gun is held. The problem is, you usually fire while bracing the gun against your shoulder. So this means there’s quite a bit of ‘wasted space’ in the gun behind the firing mechanism, and if you want a long barrel, it has to stick out far. Bull-pup places the firing mechanism towards the rear of the rifle, near where you place it against your shoulder. This lets the barrel run from back there, past your hand grip, making for a shorter weapon for the same length barrel. Longer barrels mean more power and accuracy. The problem with bull-pups is (a) that it’s easier to change a magazine which is in front of the hand grip than behind it, especially without taking the weapon away from a firing position and (b) the cartridges can’t really eject sideways since they’d hit you in the face, depending on whether you are left or right handed. Newer bull-pups somehow manage to solve (b) by ejecting the spent cartridges out of the front, but I’m not sure how it works.