Monday, August 07, 2006

Video, sound advances aimed at war on terror

Associated Press
NISKAYUNA, N.Y. - It sounds like something out of science fiction.
Researchers at General Electric Co.'s sprawling research center are creating new "smart video surveillance" systems that can detect explosives by recognizing the electromagnetic waves given off by objects, even under clothing.
Scientist Peter Tu and his team are also developing programs that can recognize faces, pinpoint distress in a crowd by honing in on erratic body movements and synthesize the views of several cameras into one bird's eye view, as part of a growing effort to thwart terrorism.
"We're definitely on the cutting edge," said Tu, 39. "If you want to reduce risk, video is the way to do it. The threat is always evolving, so our video is always evolving."
Scientists at the GE complex - a landscaped, gated campus of laboratories and offices spread out over 525 acres and home to 1,900 scientists and staff - and others in the industry hope to use various technologies to reduce false alarms, cut manpower used on mundane tasks and give first-responders better tools to assess threats. The country's growing security needs also provide an opportunity to boost business.
The United States and its allies now face a new "Iraq generation" of terrorists who have learned how to make explosive devices, assassinate leaders and carry out other mayhem since the U.S. invasion of the country more than three years ago, said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Bush administration who now runs his own consulting business in Arlington, Va.