Accurately estimate behavioural characteristics in real time

27th October 2015
Nat Bowers

Hitachi has developed a technology which can accurately measure human behaviour and estimate attributes (characteristics) in real time. By analysing 3D data obtained from a stereo camera, human behaviour can be measured accurately, in real time, even in a crowded space, which used to be difficult with 2D image data from conventional surveillance cameras.

By analysing 3D data of the shapes of people and the objects around them, accessory objects such as baby strollers and wheelchairs can be identified. By using this data, each person's attributes - for example, a guest with his/her child or an elderly person who needs assistance - can also be estimated. The new technology can be applied to a variety of fields such as marketing to provide services depending on the behaviour and attributes of people in commercial facilities, offices, event halls and other spaces.

In recent years, sensor technology advances and information processing improvements such as big data analysis have raised the expectation for efforts to increase the value of spaces. For example, highly convenient layout can be realised by statistically analysing vast amounts of data, such as data of human behaviour, generated in spaces where people gather. Also, by combining and analysing data of attributes, such as age group and the presence of an accompanied child, found in individual behavioural data, services can be tailored to diverse individual needs. Support services to improve quality of life is especially needed to address issues facing society today, such as an ageing and falling birth-rate population and reducing the burden that physically challenged people experience.

Conventional technologies to measure human behaviour include the use of surveillance cameras, laser radars, infrared tags and GPS-equipped information terminals. Measurement using surveillance camera image data generally determines the positions of people by detecting their silhouettes. However, silhouettes cannot be recognised by this method in a crowded space and manual manipulation is necessary.

Conventional methods thus have difficulty in measuring human behaviour in real time and with great accuracy. Hitachi has now developed a technology that solves this problem. By leveraging Hitachi's image recognition technologies and stereo camera technologies accumulated over many years, the new technology measures the behaviour of people and estimates their attributes with high accuracy and in real time. A stereo camera is a sensor featuring two separate lenses which recognise the external world as human eyes. The camera can measure the distance between itself and objects and acquire its 3D data. It is therefore possible to stably measure human behaviour even in a crowded space where people overlap, and process the obtained data accurately and in real time. Furthermore, by performing stereoscopic analysis of people and their surrounding objects, e.g., large luggage and baby strollers, can be identified and the attributes of their owners can be estimated.

Hitachi is engaged in research and development to commercialise this technology and contribute to realising more comfortable urban spaces and providing services tailored to individual needs.

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