Panopticon Captures Every Movement in 3D

Panopticon Captures Every Movement in 3D

I still remember the days of the introduction of analog cameras and video cassette recorders (VCRs) when that was top-of-the-line technology used for security. Well, needless to say, the industry has come a long way since then with the additions of things like infrared, IP, noise reduction, motion activation, etc. Even motion capture technology has come a long way in just the past few decades.

In the motion picture industry, the latest usages of motion capture required sticking hundreds of tiny markers on a human actor’s body to track movements and create an accurate digital replica. But, can you image the power of security if motion could be captured accurately without markers.

Scientists at Carnegie Melon University have been toying with this and have developed a system of 360-degree cameras similar to the one used in the movie The Matrix. Panoptic Studio is an enormous spherical dome outfitted with 480 video cameras, all pointing inward, to track the movements of people or objects in the center of the dome. The detail captured is extraordinary.

Not all cameras are activated all the time; the system relies on software that highlights a single moving target to figure out the best viewing angles. Then the software activates only a few relevant groups of cameras at a time.

Although still in the early days of development, the Panoptic Studio’s results have been promising as researchers have gotten the system to retrace over 100,000 different points without markers over hundreds of video frames with greater accuracy than other motion capture techniques.

I wonder if there is where we’re heading with security. Can you imagine cameras in cities across the U.S. with this type of capture capability? Vandals, villains, robbers and such wouldn’t stand a chance.

(Images from The Verge and The Register.)

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Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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