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These cute animal-shaped cameras take the creepiness out of video surveillance

[Update on April 15, 2014: After exhibiting them at Milan Design Week 2014, Parson informed us that the Owl, Chameleon, Tropical Bird, and Urban Bird cameras will be available for pre-order at their website. The cameras will be made entirely in Italy, from the handcrafted exterior to the interior technology that’s developed by Video Systems.]

In this day and age when everyone is obsessed with security, video surveillance has become commonplace in many public spaces. And, although we know we’re being observed for our own safety and that of everyone around us, it is still somewhat creepy to think that your every move is being recorded on video. That’s especially true when the cold, industrial cameras are in plain sight, staring back at you like the instruments of a Big Brother-like surveillance system depicted in George Orwell’s 1984.

While there isn’t much we can do about being “watched,” surveillance companies could make the experience more comfortable – if not downright enjoyable – by changing the appearance of security cameras. That’s exactly what Italian design studio Parson has done with their concept series of animal-shaped security cameras. Clad in sand-cast aluminum bodies shaped like a parrot, squirrel, or grasshopper, these cameras will make you just love video surveillance when you see them (or, at least for a few minutes, forget about being monitored).

But in all seriousness, in places like playgrounds in busy parts of a large city, or children’s hospitals, these cameras could actually provide a huge benefit. Instead of a regular surveillance camera that can look intimidating, the sight of a cute animal could put both kids and concerned parents at ease. Which is not to say that every spot in the world should be outfitted with these just because they look so amicable, but it shows that Big Brother doesn’t have to always look scary.

(Via Parsons, KNSTRCT via Design Taxi; this article was originally published on March 27, 2014)