Vision Insider Blog

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...

Friendly robots

Feb 12, 2014 ERWIN (Emotional robot with intelligent network) is a robot developed by researchers from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science.The robot is being used as part of a PhD study to learn more information about the relationships between humans and "companion" robots.

This blog will self-destruct: DARPA’s vanishing electronics initiative

Feb 7, 2014

DARPA’s latest initiative involves the development and manufacturing of electronics, including those for remote sensing and communication, which will be able to self-destruct on command (Think Mission: Impossible, or even Inspector Gadget.)

Infrared imaging at the Super Bowl

Jan 29, 2014 Considering the amount of cameras that will be present at this Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks; it wasn’t too difficult to find a vision-related connection. In this case, though, the connection is a bit “out of the box,” as FOX will apparently use a thermal ima...

FLIR One enables thermal imaging on your iPhone

Jan 10, 2014 With the launch of the FLIR ONE, users can turn their iPhone into an infrared imaging camera by putting it into a specially-designed protective case and connecting the devices via USB interface. FLIR ONE can capture temperatures from 32°F to 212°F, features an operating temperature range of 32°F ...

Rapid prototyping

Jan 8, 2014 Let’s say you work at a company that develops cameras, connectors for camera cables, or even something like a handheld embedded medical imaging system. For the sake of an example, let’s say you’ve designed a camera casing on a CAD system, but need to get the complete mechanical housing off to you...

The other side of robotic surgery (and robots in general)

Dec 31, 2013 While robots and robotic systems provide novel, innovative technologies across a number of applications and industries, another side of robots—which we rarely visit—is the risk factor that they present. In this case, many adverse events involving a robotic surgery system have gone unreported thro...

Happy Holidays from Vision Systems Design!

Dec 24, 2013

With the year winding down, we wanted to take a minute here to thank you all for reading Vision Systems Design throughout the year. Whether you receive the magazine, our newsletters, or just happen to read the site from time to time, your time is appreciated.

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