Well it hardly seems four years ago that we played host to the Olympics but London 2012 will now hand over the torch to the people of Rio de Janeiro.

The world will be watching athletes from across the globe compete to bring home gold for their countries. We also read about a great piece of tech keeping a close eye on proceedings. Developed to be used by the U.S. armed forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq by Logos Technologies, the 13 cameras in the Simera will allow for ‘wide-area motion imagery’ high resolution and in real-time to be captured.

Intrigued we set about learning more. 

Logos Technologies are based in Fairfax, Texas and of course delighted to mark their first sale to a large international event, with Rombough, Logos’s vice president of business development saying, “Simera was built late last year and we tested it this past February and then immediately sold four of them to Brazil,”

Rombough compares Simera to a live city-wide Google Maps combined with TiVo, explaining that it lets authorities not only view ground-level activities in real time but also rewind through saved images to do things like track a suspicious vehicle—for instance, one that departs a crime scene—back to its origin.

So how does it work? Well the imagery is captured from a balloon and its 13 cameras will detail footage from an area up to a staggering 15.4 square miles dependent as to how high the balloon is deployed. Another great advantage is that each Simera balloon can be used for up to three days. .

Brazilian authorities have taken four systems operating under an $8 million contract as part of their overall security plans.

The government has announced it will deploy 47,000 security guards, 65,000 police, and 20,000 armed service personnel to patrol the Games, The system evolved from technologies Logos previously supplied to the Defense Department for use in combat zones, including the Constant Hawk aircraft-mounted surveillance camera system and Kestrel, a similar balloon-mounted sensor system that’s been used in Afghanistan to monitor activity near about a dozen U.S. bases.

There, the company says the technology helped U.S. troops monitor potentially threatening activity as it evolved over days, enabling officials, for instance, to track the movement of suspicious vehicles in the vicinity of an attack. But as Logos’s technology continues to evolve and become easier and cheaper to deploy in civilian scenarios, it’s likely to raise more questions about the appropriate balance between security and privacy.

According to Logos their sensor systems have become lighter and easier to deploy: Early Constant Hawk systems weighed about 1,500 pounds, Kestrel units weighed around 150 pounds, and Simera systems just 40 pounds, expanding the range of aircraft that can carry the devices. Including the ground-based equipment necessary to control and monitor the cameras, the Simera system—which generally costs $500,000 to $900,000 per unit, depending on features— can be transported in a single vehicle and put into an operation in under three hours.

And as the company’s systems have gotten lighter in weight and easier to deploy, the range of potential use cases has expanded; which is very exciting. Alongside policing events future expansion the company believes its system would prove useful in supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

So if you are heading to the Rio Olympics, safe travel and keep an eye out for the Simera balloon and send us a picture!

Until next time.