Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras

motorola IA

17 July 2017 | Patrick Tucker | Defense One

This would be the end of civil society as we know it, but knowing their zeal for intrusive behaviour we could be absolutely guarnteed that police would turn on their bodycams. JP


Even if the cop who pulls you over doesn’t recognize you, the body camera on his chest eventually just might.

Device-maker Motorola will work with artificial intelligence software startup Neurala to build “real-time learning for a person of interest search” on products such as the Si500 body camerafor police, the firm announced Monday.

Italian-born neuroscientist and Neurala founder Massimiliano Versace has created patent-pending image recognition and machine learning technology. It’s similar to other machine learning methods but far more scalable, so a device carried by that cop on his shoulder can learn to recognize shapes and — potentially faces — as quickly and reliably as a much larger and more powerful computer. It works by mimicking the mammalian brain, rather than the way computers have worked traditionally.

Versace’s research was funded, in part, by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA under a program called SyNAPSE. In a 2010 paper for IEEE Spectrum, he describes the breakthrough. Basically, a tiny constellation of processors do the work of different parts of the brain — which is sometimes called neuromorphic computation — or “computation that can be divided up between hardware that processes like the body of a neuron and hardware that processes the way dendrites and axons do.” Versace’s research shows that AIs can learn in that environment using a lot less code.

Decreasing the amount of code needed for image recognition means a lot less processing, which means smaller computers needing less power can accomplish these tasks. Eventually, you get to the point where a computer the size of a body camera can recognize an image that camera has been told to look for, or at least do a lot more of the “learning” required to make the match.

“This can unlock new applications for public safety users. In the case of a missing child, imagine if the parent showed the child’s photo to a nearby police officer on patrol. The officer’s body-worn camera sees the photo, the AI engine ‘learns’ what the child looks like and deploys an engine to the body-worn cameras of nearby officers, quickly creating a team searching for the child,” Motorola Solutions Chief Technology Officer Paul Steinberg said in a press release.

Neurala and Motorola hope to demonstrate the capability on a prototype device at some point.

At least one Motorola competitor — Axon, formerly Taser — which also makes body cameras for cops, is also looking to integrate on-camera artificial intelligence into future products.

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