China is testing a new monitoring technology that could identify a person even when they are not facing the camera, just by analyzing the way they walk.
Developed by Chinese startup Watrix, the advanced artificial intelligence technology can reportedly recognize individuals even if their faces are not visible to the camera for up to 50 yards away, reports South China Morning Post.
The tool, called “gait recognition,” analyzes thousands of metrics about someone’s walk, including a person’s body contour, the angle of arm movement, position of toes, among other factors before building a database.
In a recent interview, Watrix co-founder and chief executive, Huang Yongzhen noted how certain features of their tool have given them an edge in catching runaway criminals, who usually try to avoid surveillance.
“With facial recognition, people need to look into a camera – cooperation is not needed for them to be recognized [by our technology],” Huang was quoted as saying.
According to Huang, their gait recognition technology has been tested by local authorities on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing.
He also revealed that the company has officially launched the tool’s version 2.0 last week, which provides “mega-city level” analysis of real-time camera feeds.
“We are currently working with police on criminal investigations, such as tracking suspects from a robbery scene,” said Huang. “Currently, China has about 300,000 wanted criminals on the loose and counting. [Our software’s] database includes those with a prior gait record.”
While Huang admits that his firm’s gait technology was inspired by a United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) study initiated in the 2000’s, he claims that Watrix has become the world’s number one in gait recognition.
“Our accuracy rate at the laboratory level exceeds 96%, while Watrix has over 50 patents in both China and the US,” said Huang.
He also stated that even creative criminals will find it difficult to outsmart the technology as fake limping or wearing a disguise will not be enough to fool it.
“Covering your legs would reduce the recognition score but we analyze all of a person’s body,” said Huang.
Since Watrix also provides facial recognition technology, the company can offer improved overall results by combining the two technologies.
After launching its first version of the software last year, Watrix has reportedly gained interest from security companies from Singapore, India, Russia, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic that have initiated talks for contracts.
Huang further noted that gait recognition can also be used in physiotherapy, sports training or as a helpful tool in smart homes and nursing homes as it can notify someone when an elderly person has fallen over or is about to. In hospitals, the tech can also be used to diagnose neural issues.
Watrix, which has secured a 100 million yuan ($15 million) pre-A funding round in October, is looking to raise another 200 to 300 million yuan ($30- $45 million) in its latest round to “accelerate research and business adoption of the technology.”
Featured image via YouTube/TRT World Now