The first security cameras were developed in the 1960s by Marie Brown. Over the past 50 years, security cameras have improved but only by small degrees. Video resolution has improved dramatically and users can access remote feeds from computers and smartphones but the security camera hasn’t changed much over the years. Here are a few advances in security camera technology we can expect in the next few years…

Security Cameras that See Through Clothes

For generations, 13-year old boys have dreamed of the day they could see through clothes. A few grew up to be the scientists and researchers that made this dream come true. Of course, some might see this new technology as an invasion of privacy. Advocates argue that cameras with “x-ray” capabilities will make airports, subways, and other public places much more secure. Regardless of your view, the technology is pretty cool and it’s already being used by law enforcement.

The Manchester Airport and the Port of Long Beach, California have already implemented the technology. Current x-ray camera technologies don’t yet have the ability to magically “make people naked” but they do give a pretty good idea of what a person would look like naked. Earlier this year, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) body scanners became a major point of contention when people objected to being viewed nude, even if the image was anonymous. (Most x-ray cameras currently display a model based on the subject that hides facial features and other identifying characteristics.) Despite the outcry, security experts see a bright future for this technology.

Security Cameras that Recognize You

Security cameras are everywhere. While many people have commented on the rise of “Big Brother”, increased usage of security cameras hasn’t meant the end of privacy just yet. Modern cameras are still pretty primitive. They don’t know what they’re looking at and they can’t follow people or events. However, all that is about to change.

Facial recognition software has been developing for the past decade or so but advances in camera resolution and computing have led to some interesting new possibilities for security cameras. The most important new feature will be security cameras that recognize subjects and can follow them between separate locations. The technology is already in use in England, where an extensive CCTV system has been monitoring the streets for years.

Security Cameras that Recognize Danger

Ok, to be fair, this one is a little further off into the future than the other entries on this list. In fact, a camera that can recognize danger is still theoretical. But it’s not impossible. And it’s almost ready for use by law enforcement.

It’s called AWARE or the Automated Warning and Response Engine and it analyzes video captured from hundreds or even thousands of cameras without human intervention. The technology can be used to spot potential terror attacks in heavily trafficked public areas, like Times Square in New York City. AWARE can recognize when a car is illegally parked and if its hazard lights are on, both of which are signs of danger. The system can even scan the car’s license plate number and run it against a variety of databases. Abeo Technical Services, the company behind AWARE, says the system, “has a higher probability of detection than a human observer.” It’ll still be a few years before AWARE is deployed but the future of security cameras is just over the horizon.