Software to “hear” sounds.

June 25, 2008 by stanza Leave a reply »
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CCTV cameras which use artificial intelligence software are being developed to “hear” sounds like windows smashing, researchers have revealed.

University of Portsmouth scientists are working on adapting the software so it can also react to crowd noise.

Crimes would be captured on camera faster and response times improved.

The news comes after the BBC learned councils in southern England routinely used powers brought in to fight terrorism and crime to spy on people.

Figures obtained by BBC South showed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) was used more than 750 times by the councils in 2007/08. The new three-year surveillance study is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/7471140.stm

http://www.port.ac.uk/aboutus/newsandevents/frontpagenews/title,79126,en.html

The research team is now working on using the same software to ‘learn’ sounds and react to them by swinging the CCTV camera towards in them at the same speed a person would turn their head if they heard someone scream, which is about 300 milliseconds.

Dr David Brown, director of the Institute, said: “The visual-recognition software will be able to identify visual patterns but for the next stage we want to get the camera to pivot if it hears a certain type of sound. So, if in a car park someone smashes a window, the camera would turn to look at them and the camera operator would be alerted.

“The longer artificial intelligence is in the software the more it learns. Later versions will get cleverer as time goes on, perhaps eventually being able to identify specific words being said or violent sounds. We are only listening for specific words associated with violence, not full conversations.”

The software behind this research uses fuzzy logic to identify certain visual cues and sounds. Dr Brown said: “In identifying sound we are looking for the shapes of sound. In the same way, if you close your eyes, you can trace the shape of a physical object and ‘read’ its profile with your hand we are developing shapes of sound so the software recognises them.

“The software will use an artificial intelligence template for the waveform of sound shapes and if the shape isn’t an exact fit, use fuzzy logic to determine what the sound it. For example, different types of glass will all have slightly different waveforms of sound when they smash but they will have the same generic shape which can be read using fuzzy logic.

“It’s a very fast, real-time method of identifying sounds.”

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