UK Researchers Claim 3D Technology Could Revolutionize Surveillance

News story claims: "If widely deployed, the 3D surveillance technology could help deter terrorist attacks and improve security for civilians."

A group of UK university researchers are developing the use of photometric stereo for security applications. They claim they can:

  • Identify concealed objects (not just detect)
  • Operate at both close and long ranges
  • Operate in varying levels of illumination
  • Operate in obscured environments (i.e. fog or smoke)

The fundamental technology is interesting - at least for how it could be used in surveillance applications. But I have some doubts about the real world efficacy of these claims - we've all seen some of these types of claims before and they all seem to fall off the radar once they begin to try and make it work ITRW.

If the above claims weren't enough to make you scoff - check out their future plans: the group has a "4D Vision Project" that seeks to be able to detect human emotions:

"Described by UWE as “next generation photometric technology” the 4D Vision Project captures changing facial expressions in ultra-high resolution. The technology uses a single camera to take a series of 2D facial images while LED light pulses illuminate the face. An algorithm then determines face shape and skin color using shading data. A computer uses this data to create a 3D face moving in real time by processing the next set of 2D images as the 3D face is reconstructed."

What do you think about the chances of any of us seeing this technology in 'our world' any time soon?

Interesting, I can't comment on the practicality but I do know some of the retail analytics companies claim to be able to make use stereoscopic people counters. Probably not too big of a leap to assume they would adopt this quickly if somewhat cost effective. A lot of retailers have various people counting and other analytic tools they have invested in.