Published: Thursday 31 July 1997

A watchful eye

Parents would soon be able to use the Internet to keep an eye on their children at nursery school. A new system called Kindercam can send a colour video image twice a second from a video camera in the nursery school to the Kindercam web site, where parents can see live pictures of their children in the nursery.

Parents can switch between rooms in the school by clicking on thumbnail images of the room. Once they have located their child, a large colour picture is transmitted and updated twice a second, giving the appearance of a slow-moving video image.

Each Kindercam camera contains its own Web server, which automatically sends pictures to the main nursery Web server. This server ensures the system's security. "With children involved, we needed to make sure that not just anyone can look at these pictures," say the inventors of the project. "So we set up a secure server within the nursery, which stops hackers from getting in. We also encrypt all the pictures before sending them out over the Web."

Each parent on the system is given a password and a user name which can be given to other relatives. "As the Net is global, if you have other children in some other part of the world, they can see these pictures just as easily as you can from your home next door to the nursery," says the project director.

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