This is really, really cool, but don't toss your TiVo just yet. Swann Security has a new surveillance device that's part flashlight, part DVR. Now it's not meant in any way to replace your home theater's DVR, but who doesn't think that this is really, really cool. The Swann FlashlightDVR is a real, functioning flashlight with three brightness modes. Fine. However, there's a built-in camera with 128MB of built-in memory and a slot for additional memory — it will support a 2GB mini-SD card.
But wait, there's more!
The FlashlightDVR has infrared sensors that provide night vision capabilities up to 13 feet. There's a USB port for transferring or just viewing images on your computer.
The imaging sensor is a color CMOS sensor, 300k pixels with resolution of VGA 640 x 480. Gain control and white balance are both automatic. Video is recorded as 30 fps MPEG-4 files. With the built-in memory, maximum recording time is 18 minutes at VGA, and up to 1.5 hours on a 1GB mini-SD card. There's a built-in microphone to capture audio as well. It is capable of capturing stills as well.
The camera can be used in a variety of ways beyond security surveillance — Swann says that it's
"ideal for leisure activities such as camping or fishing where a
flashlight and camera are both needed." Uh, yeah. I'll leave my
Maglite and Pentax home on my next backpacking trip. Sure. —Leslie Shapiro
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