A surveillance camera that writes what it sees

giugno 4, 2010 Technology No Commenti

Just yesterday, we mentioned a research project aimed at the development of surveillance cameras which can recognize what they see and understand the possible interactions thanks to visual intelligence.
Today we will talk to you about I2T, an acronym for “Image To Text”, that is, a computer-based visual system, developed by UCLA researchers in cooperation with Virginia-based ObjectVideo.

The software which constitutes the core of I2T contains visual algorithms which analyze the images and are capable of compile a sort of list of whatever they can see within the image. In practice, the image is broken down into a series of shapes, and the shapes are matched with a name.

The process of matching shapes with their names actually is based on a human factor. In fact, Song-Chun Zhu, the system developer, in 2005 participated in a project which involved cooperation from some art students, who were set to work on a catalog of more than 2 million images, identifying and classifying their contents in over 500 categories.

In practice, once the image is split into several shapes, these shapes are matched against the archive and the corresponding name is assigned to them. Furthermore, Image To Text is also capable of describing movements of objects within the footage and describe them with automatically generated sentences like “Man1 enters car at 23:45, leaves car at 26:14”.

Recurring objects can be stored and recognized, so a car previously seen will still be called Car1 when reentering the scene, instead of Car2.

The I2T system, which could certainly be useful for closed circuit video surveillance systems, needs a lot of improvement before being a real match for human cognitive capabilities, and hitting the market. Our friends working the night surveillance shift can rest safely, they are not losing their jobs!

One million hours of flight, with no pilot

giugno 4, 2010 Technology No Commenti

At the beginning of the war in Iraq, back in 2003, US armed forced were equipped with 13 pilotless aircraft, the so called drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). From that time on, the growth in deployment and usage of these systems has been exponential, until current days, when over 1400 vehicles of this kind are actually deployed in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the middle of April 2010, the drones used in Iraqi territory have “celebrated” a total of one million hours of flight. The overwhelming success of aerial video surveillance systems is mostly do to their efficiency in carrying out their missions automatically or thanks to a remote control, without having to unnecessarily put personnel’s lives in danger.

In fact, whether they are used for reconnaissance or target acquisition operations, thanks to the installation of photo and video equipment (also infrared for night vision), or they carry out real combat missions thanks to the application of warheads and weapons, UAVs (or UAS, Unmanned Aerial Systems) have revolutionized the modern idea of war, making it resemble a videogame, at least from the point of view of the UAV operator.

The first pilotless aircraft was used in Iraq during the first Gulf War after the Kuwait invasion in 1991. Since then, it took 13 years to reach 2004, when a total of 100000 hours of flight was reached, while nowadays, an estimate says that unmanned aircraft are carrying out at least 25000 hours of missions every month.

Recently, the US Army has released its Road Map for applications and usage of unmanned aircraft in military operations for the next 25 years. During this time, officials are planning to increase the usage of this vehicles in fields of applications such as evacuation of wounded troops and transportation of heavy material.


giugno: 2010
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