Student designs facial recognition surveillance system to deter intruders

June 24, 2013 - 

A product design student from Middlesex University has developed a unique security system which mimics a human eye and uses facial recognition to detect and deter burglars.

The device, named Sentient, plays on the psychology of a burglar and also uses facial recognition to and motion detection to catch burglars.

According to a report in the Middlesex University Website, the device looks like an eyeball with partially closed eyelids, though once it senses human movement, opens up and the internal camera begins searching around the area it protects.

The Sentient uses facial recognition technology to ensure it is detecting human movement, and once it finds the source of the movement, closes its eyelids and the “eye” (camera) visibly follows the intruder.

According to the student – Curtis John — who created it, Sentient is designed to employ psychology behind the relationships people have with human-like objects and aims to not only monitor, but also to startle and deter could-be intruders.

“There is a gap in the market as most security systems are motionless, so not much attention is paid to them as they allow intruders to remain feeling anonymous,” John said. “Adding a human element can have a significant effect on crime, as we recently demonstrated by a study at a University where just placing an image of staring eyes reduced crime.”

John’s product shows a compelling use of facial recognition, in particular for making burglars feel watched, though it does raise some questions about deterring and detecting burglars with obscured faces, as the awareness around what it takes to spoof a facial recognition system is growing.

Reported previously, Anonymous has released a video giving tips for thwarting facial recognition, which range from wearing a mask, strategically applying makeup, using laser pointers, or most powerfully, equipping a hat with infrared lights.

Also, two Japanese professors designed a pair of goggles with infrared lights earlier this year, which also obscure faces from the view of surveillance cameras. We reported this development in January of this year, though it has recently been reported widely in the last week.

According to a new research report, the global video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.1 percent between 2012 and 2016. http://www.biometricupdate.com/201306/increasing-demand-for-video-surveillance-driving-global-vsaas-market-report/

Also, According to a recent CNN/Time/Orc poll, 79% of Americans are in favor of using facial recognition at various locations and public events, and 81% support expanded camera surveillance on streets and in public places.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for BiometricUpdate.com. His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for CBCNews.ca, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj