Vision Insider Blog

TODAY: Early-bird deadline 2015 Innovators Awards program

Dec 22, 2014

The Vision Systems Design team is pleased to announce the 2015 Innovators Awards program, which recognizes and rewards the most innovative products and services in the global machine vision and image processing industry.
 

Student builds a camera inside a Lego

Dec 4, 2014 Much of what we cover on Vision Systems Design is rather technical, or at least serious in nature. From time to time on the blog, I like to take a look at off-beat, fun, or interesting bits of news, such as sharks eating cameras attached to robots, or the innovative use of a digital cinema camera...

FAA granted authority to fine UAV operators

Nov 19, 2014 This past March, I wrote about the case of Raphael Pirker, a 29-year-old who used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to film a commercial at the University of Virginia. In this case, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) filed a case against Pirker for flying a drone commercially.  

VISION 2014 thoughts and takeaways

Nov 10, 2014 To articulately summarize my entire VISION experience would require an extensive amount of writing and reflection. Throughout the course of the next few weeks, I do, in fact, intend to provide summaries of the interviews I had with the 20-some-odd international vision companies on the show floor....

Crime fighting with Google Glass

Oct 7, 2014

Earlier this summer, we reported that The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS were adapting its SHORE real-time face detection and analysis software for the Google Glass.
 

Innovative music video made with a Kinect and modified digital cinema camera

Sep 29, 2014

San Francisco-based ambient music artist Tycho released a music video for the song "See" from the 2014 album “Awake" that makes clever use of a Microsoft Kinect and a modified RED Epic camera.
 

FAA approves commercial use of UAVs for filmmaking

Sep 26, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued just its second approval of commercial UAV flights, with six permits being given to film and television production companies for the purpose of aerial video capture.
 

Nova Scotia RCMP UAV

Canadian police use UAV to find family lost in forest

Sep 10, 2014 Two months ago in July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia unveiled a new fleet of vision-enabled UAVs for purposes that include crash scene investigation, search and rescue, and emergency response. A few months later, one of these UAVs successfully located two adults and their 17-m...

UAVs to patrol for illegal poachers in Africa

Sep 5, 2014 Having recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, AREND (Aircraft for Rhino and Environmental Defense)—an international non-profit group—is set to deploy vision-guided unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to detect illegal poaching in Africa’s national parks.  

Great white shark attacks autonomous tracking robot on camera

Aug 6, 2014 Last summer, we wrote about a vision-enabled autonomous underwater vehicle developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Oceanographic Systems Laboratory that is designed to track and capture up-close footage of a great white shark off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a Discovery ...

Commercial UAV pilots arrested for flying in Manhattan

Aug 1, 2014 If you’ve been keeping track of the state of commercial UAVs and their usage, you know that the FAA recently gave BP and UAV manufacturer AeroVironment permission to fly the first commercial UAV to fly over land for the purposes of aerial surveys over Alaska’s North Slope. While this is most defi...

More computer vision technology for pets

Jul 25, 2014

Not long ago, I wrote about an app called PetMatch that uses computer vision algorithms for image recognition purposes that enables a user to find a dream pet or find a lookalike to a previous pet, all in their area.

 

 

2014 poised for significant machine vision industry growth

Jul 17, 2014 All signs are pointing toward a record year for sales in the global machine vision industry. A report recently released from Allied Vision Technologies indicates that the camera manufacturer closed the first half of 2014 with historic sales and volume figures that far exceeded plan.

The beautiful side of UAVs

Jul 3, 2014

Whether you are for them or against them, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are an oft-discussed topic—this blog not-excluded.
Much of the talk about UAVs, or as some like to call them, drones, seems to focus on the negative, or at least, the risks involved.

Finding the perfect pet with machine vision technology

Jun 30, 2014

An app called PetMatch from startup Superfish utilizes machine vision algorithms for image recognition purposes in order to help you find your dream pet, or find a lookalike to previous pet, in your area.
 

FAA approves flight of first commercial UAV

Jun 12, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted permission to BP and UAV manufacturer to fly the first commercial UAV to fly over land for the purposes of aerial surveys over Alaska’s North Slope.

Personal companion robot reads human emotions

Jun 9, 2014 In one of our recent blogs, we took a look at the idea of robots working and interacting alongside people. Two experts who spoke at the Collaborative Robots Workshop at the AIA Vision Show suggested that “Human acceptance” in relation to robots is an important area to keep an eye on as more robot...

3D scanning "cyber tape measure" system raises privacy concerns

May 30, 2014

An Australian company called mPort has developed a 3D imaging pod designed to capture near-naked body scans and data for custom-made clothes and fashion. While the concept is novel, the issue of privacy is being called into question.

FAA considering the approval of small commercial UAVs

May 20, 2014

In an effort to make it so commercial flights such as these are permitted, is FAA is now considering a streamlined approval process for flights of small UAVs for filmmaking, utilities inspection, agriculture, and other low-risk operations

Companion robots: Start of something big?

May 9, 2014

A new study out of Penn State indicates that older adults fear that these companion robots—which provide emotional support and interact with users as they go about their day—will negatively impact young people.

Obama: Humanoid robot "a little scary"

Apr 24, 2014

During the first ever Collaborative Robots Workshop held during the AIA Vision Show in Boston, two experts in the field of robots spoke about the importance of human-robot acceptance.

Google continues robotic push with purchase of UAV company

Apr 15, 2014 When it comes to the robotics industry, Google has been plenty busy making headlines over the past year or so. These headlines include the purchase of eight robotic companies, including Boston Dynamics—a company that develops mobile robots for the U.S. military, as well as news that Google would ...

An optometrist's take on smartphones for eye imaging

Mar 19, 2014

I recently came across an article describing a system developed by Stanford researchers in which a smartphone (in this case, an iPhone), was used to capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye.

Commercial UAVs legal, but for how long?

Mar 11, 2014

A recent ruling from a federal judge indicates that there is no official legally-binding rule against the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, despite the widespread notion that flying them is, in fact, illegal.

Vision at the Sochi Olympics

Feb 14, 2014 Hockey aside (Go USA), I am just as much interested in the non-event stories on the Sochi Olympics than I am the actual competition. Olympic Village rumors, hotel horror stories, and stray dog roundups are just some of the highlights I’ve come across. Anyway, I recently found myself perusing thro...

Unexpected item in the bagging area

By Andy Wilson
Anyone who has been grocery shopping recently can't have failed to notice the numerous self-checkout lanes that many grocery stores are now installing in their premises as an alternative to traditional cashier-staffed checkouts.

The reason for this is quite simple. By enabling consumers to scan the barcodes on their own items, and manually identify items such as fruits and vegetables which are then weighed, stores can man a six station check out with just a single person, cutting down on costs considerably.

But by doing so, many stores have left themselves open to unscrupulous individuals who may either attempt to hoodwink such systems into believing that they are purchasing a lovely bunch of coconuts instead of a pack of somewhat more expensive sirloin steaks, or simply bag the items at the checkout without bothering to scan them at all.

Apparently, things have got so bad on the pilfery front, that New England-based Big Y (Springfield, MA, USA) has abandoned any more self-checkout ideas it had planned, citing both customer service as well as shoplifting behind its decision.

Fortunately, however, one company now believes it can offer a solution to the knotty problem -- a solution that is, of course, based around an intelligent vision analysis system.

That company, StopLift Checkout Vision Systems (Cambridge, MA, USA) has developed a computer vision system that can interpret the behavior of the customer by analyzing and understanding body motions at the checkout.


By analyzing the digitized video, the so-called “ScanItAll system” scrutinizes how each item is handled to determine whether or not it was properly scanned. The patented system is capable of understanding fraudulent behavior, including when a bar code is covered up by hand.

Of course, there are alternative approaches to cutting down fraud. One such approach which has been tested out by grocery retail giant Kroger (Cincinnati, OH, USA) involves the deployment of a tunnel called the Advantage Checkout. This system incorporates a battery of imaging scanners that read bar codes and letters and numbers on goods to identify them as they travel through the tunnel.

Eliminating the need for customers to scan their own goods could prove equally as effective, if not more so, at cutting down on theft as analyzing customers' movements from video footage. Combining the two approaches could mean that thieves are faced with a much tougher time should they try to purloin the sirloin in the future.

References:

Method and apparatus for detecting suspicious activity using video analysis
Self-Checkout, Too Easy to Steal?
Self-checkout lanes boost convenience, theft risk
New Kroger Bar Code Scan Tunnel Could Revolutionize Retail Checkout