Play time is over. You can use Kinect, developed by Microsoft for Xbox 360, to play dance and aerobics games, or you can get serious and hack the system and use it to for group surveillance.
Alexandre Alahi, a Ph.D. student in the Signal Processing Lab at the EPFL, has patented a new algorithm for hacking multiple Kinects for real-time people detection and tracking, even in the dark.
“I was fascinated by the performance of the camera in assessing the depth of a scene at such an affordable price,” Alahi said in a press release
The algorithm combines the viewing angles from multiple Kinects to recognize shapes and differentiate, for example, between a human being, a bicycle or a vehicle. And whereas the normal set-up only detects up to a few meters, the algorithm expands this scope to tens of meters and allows high-level function in low light without confusing shadows for human figures.
“Even if shapes are superimposed, our algorithm is robust enough to distinguish them,” adds Alahi.
Alahi envisions numerous applications for his system, including security at airports and train stations, where it could provide precise statistical information to help optimize the flow of people or be used to detect suspicious behavior. He can also imagine its use to track numerous players on a sports field, number of people in a queue, or customer behavior inside shops, where it could possibly predict behavior.