Like Google for CCTV, software could help cops scour surveillance video quickly

Surveillance footage can be a great security tool, but it works best when you know the exact moment that you’re looking for. Do you know that there was a break-in at your offices between 1 a.m. and 1.15 a.m. on Tuesday morning? Provided you’ve got cameras in the right place, closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage can be exactly what you’re after in terms of evidence. But surveillance footage isn’t always quite so useful. If you’re monitoring a large number of cameras and are searching for something more open-ended — for instance, a sighting of a missing person — it can leave you in the position of having to search, eagle-eyed, through hundreds or even thousands of hours of video.

Things could be about to change, however, thanks to researchers from India’s Ahmedabad University and Lalbhai Dalpatbhai College of Engineering. They have developed what they hope could become the Google of surveillance video systems. It would allow people to enter a text-based description of a person of interest, and then have artificial intelligence (A.I.) scour the footage for a sign of them.

[Our] technology asks only the description [of a person] — for example, 180cm tall man with a white T-shirt and blue jeans — to search,” Hiren Galiyawala, one of the researchers on the project, told Digital Trends.

The technology is not yet perfect, and with some of the other technical limitations of surveillance footage, it may not be any time soon. For instance, Galiyawala notes that surveillance footage is usually of such low resolution that making out faces is difficult. (And don’t for a second imagine that the CSI-style tech that allows police to enhance blurry images actually exists!) That means that you’re limited to searching attributes like a person’s height, gender and clothing. Unless someone is wearing a particularly outlandish attire, you’re therefore unlikely to only find the specific person you’re hunting for in a large collection of surveillance footage. However, Galiyawala said this technique “can be used to reduce the search space in hours of surveillance footage.”

In tests, the technology was able to accurately find 28 out of 41 people to help prove its efficacy. The researchers now plan to further develop the technology by adding in more search signals, like the ability to search for particular body builds and more detailed information about clothing styles.

“Research is ongoing in this project,” Galiyawala said. “Future work will be focused on improving the accuracy of the system.” A paper describing the work is available to read online, and the work will be presented at next month’s International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal-based Surveillance in New Zealand.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch the world’s first privately-funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging young blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.