The MaRS Discovery District Centre hosted our biggest audience yet for the Toronto Chapter of We Are Wearables at an the "Capturing the Future: The Evolution of the Camera" event made possible in partnership with Best Buy Canada. The event featured new technologies changing the way we capture our lives from wearable cameras to drones and 3D scanning.
Inside the auditorium the discussion was focused on wearable cameras beginning with a call-to-action from the father of wearable computing, Steve Mann, on "Decriminalizing Integrity in the age of hypocrisy" by ensuring that there is balance between surveillance (organizations watching us) with sousveillance (us watching organizations). Mann debuted the Veillance Foundation at the event which champions our right to wear cameras or our "Veillance freedom" which "is the right for all humans to see, understand what they see, remember what they see, and be able to describe what they see to others.
Following Mann, Inspector Michael Barsky of the Toronto Police took the stage to give an update on the Toronto Body Camera Pilot. Barsky candidly outlined the vetting process the police used to select the equipment for the pilot and talked on both the schedule and the objectives of the pilot which aims to wrap up next year.
Vance Lockton, Senior Analyst – Stakeholder Relations at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC)’s Toronto office, took the hot seat on stage to field an open Q&A from the crowd on the use of wearable cameras in public. Most of the discussion revolved around people's right to wear cameras in public versus private spaces and it was evident that privacy and security continue to be hot topics with wearables, especially camera-enabled wearables which have the ability to collect intimate information.
Three wearable camera companies talked on their technology, all with varied target audiences. iON Camera presented its SnapCam, a new wearable camera with photo and video capabilities including live streaming, which is targeted at everyday wearers, especially the female market, who wish to capture and share their lives on social media. CEO Giovanni Tomsselli emphasized his belief that lives streaming and broadcasting was the next stage of social sharing which can be facilitated by wearable cameras such as the SnapCam. Tom Fowler, CMO of Recon Instruments, took the stage to talk about "Capturing Action", illustrating how the Recon Jet, a wearable heads-up display with integrated camera, can enhance the experience of cyclists, runners and athletes - especially allowing them to take a photo of a fleeting moment they wouldn't otherwise be able to without a wearable camera. Finally Shea Kewin, CEO and co-founder of UWHK told a story of how he was inspired to create a wearable camera for hockey based on his own passion and and experience as a pro player in the sport. UWHK's helmet cam is a training tool for athletes and coaches which demonstrates that wearable cameras can be used for much more than taking pictures and videos for sharing.
Our last speaker for the night gave an "eye-opening" (pun intended) presentation on Canada's first bionic eye implant. Dr. Robert Devenyi, Opthalmologist-in-Chief and Director of Retinal Services at The Donald K. Johnson Eye Center, The University Health Network took the stage to give a graphic presentation on the Argus II, a device which uses camera technology to give sight back to the nearly blind.
Before ending the night, a panel made up of Giovanni Tomaselli - Founder and CEO of iON Worldwide, Zayn Jaffer - Director of Merchandising, Emerging Business at Best Buy Canada, Oskar Kalmaru - Co-founder & CMO of Narrative, Steve Mann - the Father of Wearable Computing and Chief Scientist at Meta, Tom Fowler - Chief Marketing Officer at Recon Instruments and one of Canada's top bloggers and pioneer in social media, Casie Stewart sat down with We Are Wearables founder, Tom Emrich to talk about lifelogging and the impact of wearable cameras on society.
Visual Talks was in the house and caught all the great insights from the panel and the presentations from the event which we have for you below. A big thanks to our sponsors Best Buy Canada, MaRS Discovery District Centre, Uproar PR, EY Canada, Proto3000 and BetaKit for helping us to bring another successful event to Toronto.