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Surveillance system eyes up violent behaviour

Gemma Simpson / silicon.com | October 30 2006

Scientists have developed a new type of surveillance that can differentiate between a friendly hug or a punch in the face.

The smart surveillance system, developed by boffins at the University of Texas, is capable of automatically detecting violent crimes. According to reports in New Scientist, the system could soon be available to monitor huge quantities of CCTV security footage.

The software behind the system analyses each frame of footage to spot any suspicious behaviour.

The system was tested using six pairs of people who were asked to carry out various actions on one another, including sequences where the actors throw a few (fake) punches and push each other around.

Each frame was then analysed by the system with 92 per cent of single actions (for example, a simple shake of the hand) accurately detected and two-thirds of longer sequences correctly spotted.

Dr Mark Everingham, a scientist at the University of Leeds' School of Computing, told silicon.com: "There is still some time before these systems will be robust enough to use in real footage."

The images used to test the surveillance system are of a high resolution and Everingham said: "Real CCTV is low resolution," adding "people don't usually walk up 'nicely' to one another".

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