Right now there are two things being watched here. One is Molly and McGee, a pair of barn owls on the Owl Box Live Cam from San Marcos, CA. The other is Tour de France. So what do these have in common other than being on one of the many screens around my house?
It may not be surprising how much one kind of sensor has changed the world because we watch them all the time but they are showing up everywhere. Cars are becoming a home for many digital cameras (see Cars And Computers Hit The Road Together). You can find them above the license plate and 360-degree bird's eye view camera system requires at least 4 fish eye lens cameras (see Chips Accelerate Multi-Camera Automotive Video Processing). There has even been research cameras aimed at the driver to see how attentive they are.
Small cameras with wireless support have changed the nature of sports, at least from the audience's stand point. Every NASCAR or Indycar car can have multiple cameras just to give the viewer a sense of being in the driver's seat. They have changed the way races are covered on TV. In fact, they can give the viewer an even better view of that world than the driver usually sees. The over the shoulder, in cab view is just one of many. Cameras can be included to show rear views and bumper-level front views. Cameras could even be inside the engine compartment or looking at the shock absorbers. Of course, other sensors are usually more useful in providing feedback but sometimes seeing what is going on can be invaluable.
Pick up a tablet like Apple's iPad 2, Motorola's Xoom, or Samsung's Galaxy and there is at least one camera looking at you and another on the other side of the tablet. Web cameras are making video conferencing possible although it remains to be seen whether we want to see each other that way. Texting and tweeting remain popular even as instant voice and video connections are available instead.
In the meantime, we'll get back to watching Molly and McGee. It is a bit more leisurely than sports competitions. The Owl Box cameras come in multiples as well, inside and out. They run 24x7 although Carlos Royal now turns off the cameras when they go on vacation.
Molly and McGee's video streams are just one set of many on the Internet although Molly tends to be a bit more well known. There is even a Owl Box Wikipedia page.
Molly has spawned a host of sites and even a variety of videos, books and jewelry. We have the first book they published with photos of the first clutch and are waiting for the second to arrive. There have been three clutches so far and the owls are back in the box which is why we are watching now.
Watching too much of the Owl Box camera can lead to Molly Obsessive Disorder (MOD). Check out Molly Owlcronyms for more acronyms. Just listen to the music that sometimes plays on the video stream and you'll be hooked.
Carlos even cuts into the video stream for semi-regular talks about the latest status in the box although this is more common once there is a clutch of eggs or the eggs have hatched.
I wish I had half the following for my blog that Molly has garnered. Then again, she is much cuter than I am and her owlettes are even cuter.
So hork if you must but definitely check out the owl box if you get a chance.
So the Tour de France is over for today but Molly and McGee play on.