Saturday, 4 July 2009

Face detection / activity recognition – video demos of software

Demo of face recognition software, by Hannah Dee, a postdoc computer vision researcher now working in France – fascinating, and funny too, as she tries on various disguises to demonstrate whether the software can be fooled. If you’re a cat lover, just be patient and wait for the end…

She’s pointed out that this software is geared towards “full face” detection so it can’t cope with facial profiles, and gets confused by beige areas of wall etc. She also said:

“It shows some of the problems that have to be solved - continuity over time, robustness to pose variation, robustness to occlusions, and of course the problem of false positives and "faces" popping up all over the place”.

Note this software aims to recognise which bit of a video is a face, it doesn’t identify who the person is; but no doubt that’s on its way.

She showed this video at W Tech 2009, as part of a superb talk “Big Brother: CCTV, Behaviour Analysis and the Security Guards of the Future”.

There was more interesting stuff at her session - e.g. activity recognition software by I.Laptev, M.Marszałek, C.Schmid, and B.Rozenfeld that, fed movies & other video footage e.g. from films / movies, can identify human actions like standing up, or kissing! See their demo.

Dima Damen has also developed software which can home in on a person (one individual only for now, it can’t handle groups) walking, and identify very accurately the bag, suitcase, briefcase or backpack etc that the person is carrying – e.g. to sound an alarm if someone walks into a building with a bag, but walks out without it. See her video demo.

Hopefully the full slides with more info will be available soon.

The surveillance society is, it seems, virtually a reality now, with face recognition / image recognition / facial mapping technologies developing apace. The ongoing difficult question is how to strike the right balance between security and civil liberties.

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