Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eyeball Spy Turns the Tables on Big Brother

The gaze-tracking system may well be regarded as intrusive by CCTV control-room staff

The performance of closed-circuit television (CCTV) operators could be improved by analyzing their gaze, according to researchers in Turkey. Ulas Vural and Yusuf Akgul of the Gebze Institute of Technology have developed a gaze-tracking camera system to watch the eyeballs of CCTV operators as they work.

The gaze-tracking system would train a Webcam-style camera on the irises of people who watch CCTV images in the control room. CCTV operators could miss criminal or antisocial activity because they have so many screens to monitor simultaneously. After the system uses an algorithm to analyze where CCTV operators are looking, it uses software to create a video of sequences missed during the shift.

"This increases the reliability of the surveillance system by giving a second chance to the operator," the researchers write in the journal Pattern Recognition Letters. The gaze-tracking camera system runs on a standard PC and processes the images in real time, making summary frames ready to browse, similar to a fast-motion flip book.

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