Nov 092010
This wearable wireless webcam captures a recor...
Image via Wikipedia

YOU can shoot compelling video these days even when you have your hands full.

Small, lightweight, hands-free cameras — worn on a headband, for example, or tucked over an ear — will record life’s memorable moments as they unfold, even if you are busy holding your infant son or erupting in cheers at your daughter’s basketball game. And by attaching one of these cameras to your snowboard, you can even capture your own amazing race down a mountainside.

Cameras worn on helmets or harnesses have been popular during the last decade for specialized uses like skydiving or auto racing. But a new generation of devices that cost around $200, some of them recording in high-definition, may move wearable cameras into the mainstream, offering a new dimension in first-person documentation.

The cameras are likely to be very popular for both business and recreational use, said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard Law School and a co-founder of theBerkman Center for Internet and Society. “People will put them on and wear them everywhere,” he predicted.

Police officers and building inspectors, for example, may don wearable cameras to document their interactions and observations. Autobiographers may use them to capture all that they see as they wander about each day, and the absent-minded may find them helpful in recalling where they left the car keys.

The GoPro HD Hero 960 ($179.99), introduced in late September, records high-definition video at 1,280 x 960 pixels and 30 frames a second. This small cube of a camera — it’s less than two inches high — snaps into a waterproof case. Combined, the camera and case weigh less than six ounces, said Nicholas Woodman, founder and chief executive of GoProin Half Moon Bay, Calif. The lens can capture photos or video at an ultrawide, 170-degree angle, and the camera comes with a headband as well as plastic plates that can attach it to flat or curved surfaces.

The initial GoPro cameras were marketed for sports, beginning with a wrist-worn, film-based version for surfers in 2004. But since then, GoPro’s evolving line has proved to have hundreds of other applications that the company never imagined, Mr. Woodman said.

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