Smart Software Reconstructs Crime Scene in 3D
A research team led by Prof. Yizhou Yu of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has developed a computer software for reconstruction of past events in three-dimensional space from surveillance videos.The software processes surveillance videos and creates an informative and easy-to-comprehend 3D reenactment of a past event to assist an incident or crime investigation. Such a reenactment, which can synchronize video footages from a large number of surveillance cameras, lets investigators have a global situational understanding of a complex scenario without the need to loop through individual cameras, and provides useful reference for situations including crime scene reconstruction. The software can further identify and track targeted figures in the videos, using features including body gestures, color and texture of clothing and belongings.Unlike existing video analytic software, the one developed by the HKU team is much more advanced in terms of three dimensional reconstruction and visualization capabilities, which allow close-up examination of the actions of suspects from all possible viewing angles.The new software can save time and manpower in investigations. The conventional way of collecting evidence from surveillance videos requires investigators to loop through images retrieved from many cameras. They have to view the footages again and again so as to have an understanding of the crime scene and identify suspects. This process can be very labour and resource intensive. The new software can help track the suspects and their collaborators in a systematic manner, to know their whereabouts under different time frames, and retrieve subtle but important details which could easily be overlooked otherwise.Places that can benefit from this system include airports, harbours, casinos, shopping malls and busy city blocks. It can be a useful tool to be used by government agencies including the police force, the immigration department, and port and airport authorities, for investigation and terrorist control purposes.“The new software is like a ‘Smart 3D SkyEye’ which integrates images from dozens of or even more surveillance cameras. It should be a lot more convenient to identify and track targeted figures using this new software than the traditional way of investigation,” says Dr. Calvin Fong, a member of the research team.