The Problem with Video Diaries

I’ve been thinking about the video diaries that I have and also all the video data that I don’t have too.  It seems that the managers that have the flip video cameras as data collection tools hate pointing the camera at themselves and then talking to the camera’s eye.  I tried it.  I’ve been videoing feedback for my innovation students straight after lecturers and workshops.  It is a weird feeling.  It makes you terribly self conscious as it gives you the feeling of being both watched and judged.  It works to some extent but I’ve been wondering what else ethnographers could use.  There is a new piece of kit coming out (it’s not on the market yet but worth taking note of).  It’s called SenseCam.  This is what the Microsoft site says about SenseCam:

“SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images.

SenseCam contains a number of different electronic sensors. These include light-intensity and light-color sensors, a passive infrared (body heat) detector, a temperature sensor, and a multiple-axis accelerometer. These sensors are monitored by the camera’s microprocessor, and certain changes in sensor readings can be used to automatically trigger a photograph to be taken.”

Imagine the data you could get with this! You manager moves and you get to see what he goes, who he meets, what he sees!  I can see many exciting opportunities with this technology as a data collection tool.  There have already been trials in the medical profession with Alzheimer’s patients to help jog memory (see for example, Berry et al 2008).  Maybe SenseCam could be used as an aid memoir to in interviews as well as raw data.

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