China is leading the way for surveillance technology, to the point where police use facial-recognition glasses. One click of a button scans the face, recognizes the person, and bring up all their details on a smartphone-like handheld device. But what if a person’s face is covered or obscured in some way? China has a solution for that, too.
The surveillance system across China, which is becoming ever more pervasive, is in the midst of a software upgrade. Once complete, a new tool will be available to the authorities in the form of “gait recognition.” It means that even if your face can’t be seen, the system will be able to identify you from your body shape and walk.
As AP reports, artificial intelligence has been employed to allow such recognition to happen. The system was developed by Watrix and it works from up to 50 meters away even if the person’s back is turned. If you try to adjust your walk or introduce a limp, the system can still ID you because it takes into account “features of an entire body.”
Storing gait information about an individual is as simple as watching a sequence of images of the person moving and then feeding it into a computer powerful enough to analyze the data and turn it into a gait ID. It does this using a silhouette of the movement, which is then used to create and store a walk model. Link that model to a face, build a profile, and the system has everything it needs to ID the person regardless of what clothes they choose to wear, what they choose to cover up, and how they change their movement.
For now, the gait detection doesn’t happen in real-time. It takes roughly 10 minutes to sift through an hour of video and identify the individuals in it. However, in a few years it seems likely this will be a real-time system simply because China can keep upgrading to more powerful computers as they become available.
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