A revolutionary function of computers in surveillance operations is under study by a team from the Center for Machine Vision of the University of West England in UK which promises to get authorities one step ahead of terrorist attacks. It harnesses 3D technology for surveillance systems which currently use the less reliable two-dimensional images.
|Image courtesy of UWE Bristol|
The new system is expected to be more efficient in detecting the faces of terrorists that might be lurking in crowds, locating concealed weapons or identifying explosive devices in subways or airports. Since the surveillance system that makes use of 3D technology could harvest much more and better information it could be a key weapon in maintaining peace and security. The news report on its functions goes:
“Essentially, the new surveillance system analyzes multiple images artificially illuminated from different directions. The technology uses a black silicon sensor and combines cutting-edge detector technology with advanced image processing. Information is extracted and used to build a 3D version of the image, which can be rotated to review from different angles. The prototype will be tested in outdoor terrain in both light and dark conditions. Airports, train and bus stations, malls, popular tourist attractions, government buildings, ports and more could potentially benefit from the new surveillance technology.”
The prototype will be tested in outdoor terrain in both light and dark conditions. Airports, train and bus stations, malls, popular tourist attractions, government buildings, ports and more could potentially benefit from the new surveillance technology. The team’s research also suggests that the technology could work in varying levels of light and dark, as well as obscured conditions involving, for example, fog or smoke.
The technology could also be built into existing security networks such as CCTV. Using an enhanced remote system could provide advantages like reducing false alarms and the need for a physical security presence.
According to FOX News report, "the Centre for MachineVision is also investigating how 3D research could help to identify threatslike guns or explosives concealed beneath clothes. " Scientists have created a portable device that automatically detects and recognizes potential hidden threats to the military in war zones. This, however, could also be useful for protect civilians at home.
The prototype device won funding from the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense under its Competition of Ideas scheme and was developed with UK-based systems engineering specialist SEA Group. The technology works by enhancing subtle shapes and surface details, revealing things that are deliberately concealed. Photometric stereo produces a composite image using light from three or more sources-–this is linked to a computer to obtain reference data about a suspected object's surface.
The device is so effective that it can reveal not just the location of a weapon, but also the type as well. A small wearable version could be deployed on a soldier or first responder to identify threats that are close. If this research effort bears fruit, it will bring enormous benefits to anti-terrorism campaigns in many parts of the world. Through a more efficient monitoring of activities in crowded areas, we may be forewarned of such plans to prevent senseless death and destruction.