Video screens suspicious activity

Rosettex Technology and Ventures Group

A man walks into an airport, nonchalantly drops his suitcase in the corner of a waiting area filled with people and leaves. Did this passenger simply forget his bag, or does it contain explosives that could injure or kill everyone in the room?

Within about a month, federal agencies will be able to see a demonstration of surveillance video content management solutions that will be able to pick out that suspicious event and others, thanks to a contract awarded by the venture capital arm of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency to Virage Inc., a provider of video and rich media communication software.

Rosettex Technology and Ventures Group, a joint venture between Sarnoff Corp. and SRI International, was launched in February 2002 as NIMA's venture capital group to collaborate with partners to build technology prototypes and to encourage the development of commercial off-the-shelf solutions for government users.

Rosettex awarded the contract to Virage on behalf of the National Technology Alliance (NTA). NIMA is the executive agent for NTA, which was established in 1987 to discover and advance commercial and dual-use technologies for national security and defense initiatives.

The surveillance project includes integrating specialized motion mining products with Virage's video content management platform. The group aims to perform the first demonstration of the product in February or March, said Frank Capece, technology area lead for the geospatial intelligence and NTA program at Rosettex, adding that the firm would not disclose financial details.

The systems can be programmed to look for specific actions, and once it finds that "event," it will in automatically alert the end user of the system in real-time. In addition to the airport example, the solution could be used in situations such as the following:

* In a parking lot being monitored, the system would identify events such as a car parked there at midnight—when there shouldn't be any cars — or a car driving around in circles.

* In a building that requires a badge for entry, if a person with an entry badge walks through the door and someone without a badge follows them in, the tool would identify the intruder.

Under the agreement, which was awarded in September 2002, Sarnoff, SRI and Virage will carry out the applied research, demonstrations, validations and development of technology solutions, Capece said.

Mark Lister, managing director of Rosettex, said all three firms are working toward the common goal of developing "sophisticated surveillance technology that will aid in national security and defense," which if successful, can also be sold commercially for a wide variety of applications.

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