Soon, a supercomputer that recognises face, gait, human activity

A suspect is fleeing a crime scene through a crowded marketplace. Closed circuit cameras discreetly scanning the crowds register his speed of movement and trigger alarms. Meanwhile, even as other cameras keep tracking the suspect, a computer system, which the cameras are linked to, pick up a match in terms of the suspect's face and gait from a database for crime suspects. It sends out a real time alert to the law enforcement agencies.

What is described above is a futuristic scenario, but with the application of video and closed circuit camera technology on the threshold of a quantum leap of pervasiveness, researchers are chipping away at machine vision technologies that could become the norm for security in modern cities.

At the only video analytic laboratory in India — Supercomputer Education and Research Centre in the Indian Institute of Science — scientists have, as a part of a DRDO-funded security and surveillance project, come up with technologies that enable computers to recognise faces, walking styles and even human activity from video data with up to 90 per cent accuracy rates. Using computer vision modules, video compression cues and computer technology, scientists at the lab have tested algorithms that can help search reams and reams of video footage within seconds, creating technologies that are akin to Google searches for the video world.

With cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad set to install CCTV systems as security measures under the Central schemes like the Mega City project, evolving video surveillance technologies are likely to play prominent roles in urban security infrastructure.

A team of scientists, led by Assistant Professor R Venkatesh Babu, at the IISc's video analytic lab have in the last three years come up with over half a dozen scientific papers on feature matching, movement tracking and action recognition from video sequences with funding from the DRDO under its 'Compressed Domain Human Activity Analysis' project.

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