The ARGUS-IS, a 1.8 Gigapixel Spycam

Welcome to the future. The video posted is a look into the ARGUS-IS, a spy camera used in UAV's capable of capturing movement in an area of 15 miles. The information this camera is capable of seeing is both fascinating and scary. On one hand, its a modern marvel, capable of capturing the movement of an entire small city. On the other hand, its a big brother camera capable of capturing the movement of an entire small city.

Using 360 different imaging sensors, the ARGUS camera system captures over a million terabytes of video feed a day. Aside from that, they're also able to track movement of different objects, and highlight them as needed.  The imaging chips themselves are classified, but explained that its similar to taking hundreds of cell phone camera ships, and mounting them together to get a large scale image of the area.

So what do you think? Is this something to be marveled at, or scared of?

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I think what shocked me the most was that it was video, not stills. 

What scares me the most the US used them to kill people with all over the planet...

harry's picture

 And it does a damn good job at it.  I've personally seen systems like this save many coalition lives both as ISR and as a weapons platform.  Yes, there are mistakes regarding collateral damage too but that can be said about method battle.

Incredible. 24 come true. At this moment I'm mostly just totally amazed by the sheer power of this tech, probably later I'll be a bit more frightened of the whole big brother thing....

harry's picture

 Well not sure what country you are in...but big brother already does exist, as I would assume with most modern Western countries.  You do realize agencies like NSA and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency are real and monitoring both abroad and homeland for the US?  State and Federal levels both keep tabs on us, it's just how much you give them to question do they wish to dig deeper into you/your actions and interests.

Camera sounds feasible- 1.8 Gigapixel from 368 sensors is 50 megapixel each and the Nokia 808 pureview is 41 megapixel.

Streaming one million terabytes per day sounds less feasible. That is 9,249 terrabits per second. Even if you were using no compression a frame would be 43.2GB so that amount of bandwidth would only be needed if you were recording 219,749 frames per second - I think someone got a bit carried away with the zero key there.

Zach Sutton's picture

Yeah, someone mentions this on the YouTube link. Its too early for me to actually do the math though, so I just took what he said in the video :-)

Agreed. This is where I call BS. Are we to assume that it has some miraculous connection to the cloud? Or that it's loaded with millions of hard drives.

Hi Zach,

I'm happy that you're making the connections and being concerned with "big brother" technology. I just wanted to let you know not to worry about it too much. If you're not already familiar with Marshall McLuhan, now might be a good time to look him up. He create media theory that can be used to predict the future of this type of surveillance technology. Basically, any type of electronic or digital technology works against centralization. All organized military, corporate and state bureaucracies are based on centralization, so this means that digital technology is actually working AGAINST them. Eventually, centrally controlled organizations lose control of their monopoly on electronic technology and it ends up in the hands of regular people.

Bottom line: Media theory predicts that Big Brother electronic surveillance is destined to be turned against itself. Eventually, regular citizens and average folks will have access to all the same technology and they will use it to fight Big Brother.

Zach Sutton's picture

Great info, Thanks Mbutu.

I'm personally not really concerned at all, I'm far more intrigued by it than anything. It's pretty amazing that a drone can go up and watch everything than an entire town does. Unfortunately for them though, if they'd turn it on against me...they'd find that my life isnt too terribly interesting.

I agree Zach, the technology is very intriguing. The times we are living in are amazing.

I think Wikileaks is proof that this will happen.

I think it's time for me to finally get out that tinfoil hat I've been contemplating for the past few years.  I'm no privacy nut, but I get at least a little uncomfortable with somebody recording everything I do outside.  it's creepy.  might it be helpful for some things? yes.  but it's still creepy.

Jens Marklund's picture

How the fuck do they store that footage on the UAV? And what kinds of servers do they use if they want to store all the footage from all the UAV's, all the time? 

The American government should start a cloud service, and rent it out. That'll get you out of the economy.

Great for insurance claims and accident investigation, but will it be watching at the right time.They need 247854 of them to cover the US.

Edil Mendez's picture

Person of Interest? 

Seagram Pearce's picture

Don't worry guys, its the iPhone 38s camera specs. If we can wait just... a... little... more...

I'm struggling with storage for my D800 with 36MP files.  Im picturing a really big Pegasus RAID storage system!  Ha. 

Ridiculus, if you don´t know where to look at, look everywhere, and everyone could be your enemy. Sad story.
Part 2 of your Gigapixel story of Olympia London 2012? 

Hmm. Just because they have all those sensors doesn't necessarily mean they're using them all the time, or recording some really high frame rate. A picture per minute could give you a very good idea of what's moving where in a city, and you could switch to full video on a smaller subset of sensors if one area is particularly interesting.