‘Soft Biometrics’ are the Next Big Thing in Surveillance

Surveillance security systems and smart DVRs have come a long way in the past decade with the invention of features such as motion detection, scheduled recording, and live video streaming over the web. The lastest development, however, not only surpasses these features in usefulness, but downright puts their technological breakthroughs to shame.

This new concept is similar to an internet search engine, except instead of searching websites, the new feature allows users to search through huge amounts of video, finding results based on soft biometrics such as estimated height, skin and hair color, clothes, and any other feature that make a person stand out from others.

“If there is a mugging somewhere and the description of the person is six-foot tall, wearing blue jeans, a black shirt and a red baseball cap — we can take that description and convert it into an algorithm to actually data mine video networks to search for a person of that description,” said Clinton Fookes, from Queensland University of

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Technology’s (QUT) School of Engineering Systems.

The reason that this is such a breakthrough in surveillance technology is that it’s no longer required to have to manually sit down and look through hours, days, or weeks of footage to find exactly what you’re looking for. Instead, you’d simply have to enter what you want to see and can quickly and effortlessly get the exact footage you’re looking for delivered instantly.

Not only will this technology dramatically cut the amount of man hours needed to manually search through video footage, it will make police and security surveillance (such as airport security) much more efficient as these searches can be applied to recorded and live footage, instantly locating dangerous criminals or known terrorists.

So how soon can we expect to see this technology in action? According to professor Fookes, this technology will be tested in live environments in the next 12 to 24 months, so hopefully it will be fully functional and ready for use within the next five to ten years.

(Story and image via The Australian)

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  • Robert Taylor

    I just read the article on soft surveillance, it will provide civil agencies and the federal government added help in searching for potential terrorist and criminal activities around the country. It will also be an added help at scanning the airport sector upon boarding planes of domestic and international flights to and from states and country’s. I applaud the efforts in continuing pressing forward better security recognition systems.

  • James Wyche

    Great article, I would like to read more on Soft Biometrics. Please send me more links if you have them.