[bbc.co.uk] University of Portsmouth scientists are working on adapting the software so it can also react to crowd noise. Crimes would be captured on camera faster and response times improved. The news comes after the BBC learned councils in southern
England routinely used powers brought in to fight terrorism and crime
to spy on people. Figures obtained by BBC South showed the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) was used more than 750
times by the councils in 2007/08.
The new three-year surveillance study is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The existing software is sophisticated enough to identify minor
visual cues such as whether a car aerial is up or more complex activity
such as violent behaviour, researchers said.
Dr David Brown, from the University of Portsmouth, said: "The
visual-recognition software will be able to identify visual patterns
but for the next stage we want to get the camera to pivot if it hears a
certain type of sound.
"So, if in a car park someone smashes a window, the camera would turn to look at them and the camera operator would be alerted.
"The longer artificial intelligence is in the software the more it learns."
He added: "Later versions will get cleverer as time goes on,
perhaps eventually being able to identify specific words being said or
"In identifying sound we are looking for the shapes of sound.
"In the same way, if you close your eyes, you can trace the
shape of a physical object and ‚read‘ its profile with your hand, we
are developing shapes of sound so the software recognises them."
By the end of the study, the researchers hope to have
generated algorithms – a mathematical formula for solving problems –
that can be used inside existing CCTV software.
Then each successive generation of algorithms would become
more sophisticated as they "learn" what they are looking and listening