Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) in Sankt Augustin have developed a smart closed circuit television system that analyses images in real time, generating alerts if something inappropriate happens. The device was developed as part of the EU-funded project ‘SEARISE – Smart Eyes: Attending and Recognising Instances of Salient Events’.
Like the human eye, the Smart Eyes system can distinguish objects, even if the objects are moving in front of a very turbulent background. “That is invaluable for video surveillance of public buildings or places,” says Martina Kolesnik, research scientist at the FIT, adding, “In certain circumstances the capabilities of a human observer are limited. Ask someone to keep an eye on a certain stand in a football stadium and they are bound to miss many details. That same person can only carefully monitor certain sections of the whole area and will quickly get tired. That’s where Smart Eyes clearly comes into its own.”
The system consists of a fixed surveillance camera covering a certain area, and two ultra-active stereo cameras. Like human eyes, these can fix on and follow various points very quickly in succession – but also zoom in on details. At the heart of Smart Eyes is software that automatically analyses the image sequences.
It does this by replicating key strategies of the human eye and brain. Taking its lead from the flow of visual images in the brain, the software has a hierarchical, modular structure. It initially ascertains the degree of movement for each pixel, thus identifying the particular active areas in the scene. From this it learns motion patterns and stores them as typical models. On the basis of these models the system then identifies events and classifies them: for instance the software can distinguish between passive spectators and fans jumping up and down.
Image patterns such as empty seats or steps are also identified. The application picks out salient events and focuses on these using the active stereo cameras. “Our image analysis software is compatible with camera systems produced by all vendors. It can be installed easily. The user doesn‘t have to make any adjustments,” says Kolesnik
The Smart Eyes system will be on show at Security Essen 2010 from October 5-8, 2010.