New Surveillance Tool: Gait Recognition

New Surveillance Tool: Gait Recognition

New technology by a Chinese artificial intelligence company is analyzing the way a person walks as a means of identification.

Chinese authorities have begun to deploy a new surveillance tool called "gait recognition" software that uses people's body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras.

The software is already being used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai and is part of a push across China to develop artificial intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is raising concerns about how far the technology will go.

The software, built by Chinese artificial intelligence company Watrix, extracts a person's silhouette from video and analyzes the silhouette's movement to create a model of the way the person walks. It doesn't require special cameras — the software can use footage from surveillance cameras already in place to analyze gait.

Watrix chief executive officer Huang Yongzhen said the system can identify people from up to 50 meters away, even with their back turned and their face covered.

"Gait analysis cannot be filled by simple limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we are analyzing all the features of an entire body," Yongzhen said.

For now, the technology isn't capable of identifying people in real-time yet. Users must upload the video into the program, which takes about 10 minutes to search through an hour of video.


About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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