AI Case Study

Beijing Police identify people by their walking gait from up to 50 metres away

Beijing Police are using gait recognition technology to identify individuals based on their physical features when walking. The benefit of this technology is that it can be used from further away than facial recognition technology. One of the vendors of this software is Watrix, although the technology does not work yet in real-time.

Industry

Public And Social Sector

Government

Project Overview

From the AP: "Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras. Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, “gait recognition” is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is raising concern about how far the technology will go. Beyond surveillance... gait recognition can also be used to spot people in distress such as elderly individuals who have fallen down."

Reported Results

According to the AP, "Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away, even with their back turned or face covered. This can fill a gap in facial recognition, which needs close-up, high-resolution images of a person’s face to work."

Technology

"Watrix’s software extracts a person’s silhouette from video and analyzes the silhouette’s movement to create a model of the way the person walks. It isn’t capable of identifying people in real-time yet. Users must upload video into the program, which takes about 10 minutes to search through an hour of video. It doesn’t require special cameras — the software can use footage from surveillance cameras to analyze gait."

Function

Risk

Security

Background

Identifying individuals by physical characteristics has long been a source of research interest. According to the AP: "Scientists in Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency have been researching gait recognition for over a decade, trying different ways to overcome skepticism that people could be recognized by the way they walk. Professors from Osaka University have worked with Japan’s National Police Agency to use gait recognition software on a pilot basis since 2013.

But few have tried to commercialize gait recognition. Israel-based FST Biometrics shut down earlier this year amid company infighting after encountering technical difficulties with its products, according to former advisory board member Gabriel Tal."

Benefits

Data