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Wachit Spies Opportunities In World Markets


Wachit Spies Opportunities In World Markets

An intelligence-gathering microchip fitted to the ordinary VCR is poised to become the next secret weapon in security surveillance.

The motion-detecting surveillance device developed by Christchurch electronic and engineering company Farco Technologies, transforms the normal VCR into a powerful and inexpensive security event video recorder that only records when it detects movement.

With a security camera connected to its video input, a VCR fitted with the VMD-19 microprocessor module will automatically record any movement detected on camera through the video signal.

On the flip side of the coin, the recorder stays off when no movement occurs - avoiding endless hours of uneventful video footage and significantly reducing VCR wear and tear. It also has the intelligence to ignore small moving objects such as pets and ceiling fans, and knows not to record such movements.

The technology is the brainchild of Farco Technologies' director and image processing specialist Farshad Nourozi, and is already making waves in the United States security market as an innovation that could be applied to spy-related activities such as nanny and neighbour watching.

Farco is currently in negotiations to supply its Wachit video motion detector to several major distributors in the US such as online security, spy product and gadget stores. The technology is also attracting interest from countries such as Canada and Korea, and has even caught the eye of a European government agency.

Patent sought for world's smartest video motion detection technology

Farco Technologies is seeking a patent for the technology which Mr. Nourozi says brings a higher level of intelligence to video surveillance and recording technology, surpassing other devices such as time lapse recorders which record at varying speeds to reduce the need for constantly replacing video cassettes.

The VMD-19, which is incorporated into the Wachit video motion detector, becomes the "intelligent eye" in any environment it is applied to, says Mr. Nourozi.

"The potential for this technology is huge. There are so many different applications it can be used in due to its intelligence in only detecting movement within the video signal, and its low cost. It's like employing a guard 24 hours a day - and asking them to only tell you about anything interesting or unusual that has happened.

"In the US, there's a large market for the likes of nanny watching, and this product is the ideal solution for that. The product is particularly useful in places where there is only occasional activity - there's definite use for it in the likes of the utility and education sectors," Mr. Nourozi says.

The video motion detecting technology has emerged from Mr. Nourozi's fascination with remote control technology – a strong interest he gained after designing a smart light dimmer switch that can be activated with the remote control unit of a VCR or television.

Mr Nourozi has an electrical engineering degree from University of Canterbury, and a Masters degree in information technology specialising in digital image processing from Massey University. He started Farco Technologies in Palmerston North in 1995 before returning to Christchurch to establish the business there.

“When I began learning about VCR controls, I realised there was a market for a recorder that didn't always record, that would only record when it picked up something happening on the security camera. The technology just evolved until I found a solution that solved the problem,” Mr Nourozi says.

Easy installation whatever the situation

The VMD-19 can be easily integrated into the VCR at the design phase, can be installed into an existing VCR with a VCR conversion module, or can be integrated into the Wachit unit that connects to the VCR and a video camera.

Farco Technologies has also developed its own VCR with a built-in video motion detector.

The VMD-19 analyses the video signal to detect motion. Once motion is detected, an alarm signal is activated and transmits remote control codes to activate the recorder.

Mr Nourozi says Farco Technologies' first aim is to get the Wachit recognised as a valuable video security tool in international markets.

The company will then look to establish relationships with OEMs such as security camera and VCR manufacturers, hoping to work with them to incorporate the VMD-19 into VCR and security camera designs.

"In the long term we hope to establish partnerships with security product manufacturers who can use our design-in services, both in New Zealand and overseas.

"We have had a lot of interest in our technology from the United States, although we haven't particularly been pushing it there. There's a huge market out there for security surveillance, particularly in the aftermath of September 11," Mr. Nourozi says.

Farco Technologies is part of the Canterbury Innovation Incubator in Christchurch, a facility helping to accelerate the growth of emerging high technology companies in the region.

The company is keen to hear from anyone interested in the technology that could work in partnership with them to establish overseas contacts.

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