Covert Spy Cameras and Their Technical Evolution

Like standard security cameras found today protecting homes, businesses, and found on nearly every street corner in the city, nanny cams were another wired camera needing video connections running from the camera unit back to a recording device, like a VCR or monitor. Along the way, micro chips got smaller and more powerful in creating miniature lenses, or what is today called pinhole cameras. These were easily placed into such everyday items, like teddy bears, clock radios, and nearly any household item. Although still available today and often seen in disguised hidden cameras, like smoke detectors, floodlights, and some wall clocks, they require two sets of wires to transmit power and signal to a TV or DVR.

Concealing the wires was a bit cumbersome, but then a new generation Nanny Guys hit the market starting around 2000. First manufactured in such inanimate objects as planters, teddy bears, books, exit signs, and countless other items, wireless cameras eventually found their way into practical working components, like alarm clocks, clock radios, wristwatches, cell phones, fountain pens, and CD players. Inside the component was a tiny pinhole video camera and a small wireless transmitter.

When a customer purchased a wireless nanny cam, they got not only a working electronic device but a receiver, A/V cables and power adapter as well. The tricky part came when it was actually time to set up the hidden camera system. The receiver that was provided had to plug into either a monitor close by or a VCR if they wanted to record events throughout the day.

Let's say a mother wants to keep an eye on the nanny or babysitter while she's at work during the day. Just before leaving the house in the morning she would plug in the nanny cam and turn on the VCR or DVR to start recording. On arriving home at the end of the day and wanting to review what was recorded, she would have to sit for several minutes while fast-forwarding through hours of video, often looking at nothing at all. At the time, this was the only means available to monitor her child's welfare during the day, and the process at best was tedious.

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