DCU researchers awarded €2m R&D funding under FP7

29 Sep 2011

Researchers at the CLARITY R&D operation at Dublin City University have been awarded €2m under the European Framework (FP7) for projects that include research into video sensors on next-generation CCTV tracking systems.

The €2m funding will also be used for a number of other sensor research projects which will draw on the resources and expertise from other faculties and schools across DCU, including the Schools of Computing, Nursing, Health and Human Performance and the Institute of Ethics.

CLARITY is a partnership between University College Dublin, Dublin City University and Tyndall National Institute (TNI) Cork, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and by industry partners.

Speaking on the CCTV research, Prof Alan Smeaton said: “Tracking suspects or detecting unusual events on current CCTV systems can require hundreds of hours spent watching video footage on different CCTV systems, without any guarantee that an individual or event can be detected successfully.

“The systems are expensive and time consuming with a very high margin of error. However, our work based on sensor technology will allow faster and more accurate tracking, which will be of enormous benefit to security agencies in places such as airports and banks throughout the world,” Smeaton said.

The CLARITY researchers will also be working on a system to help people with dementia, which will automatically ‘log’ their daily activities using wearable sensors similar to a camera, as well as sensors in their homes.

The same technology is also being adapted for use by medical practitioners in another one of the projects dealing with behaviours which result in obesity. A wearable camera can take photos at regular intervals throughout the day when triggered by various sensors, monitoring both the amount and the regularity with which the wearer eats, as well as the amount of physical activity by the wearer.

Spearheading global sensor research

DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith said: “Dublin City University has developed a strong international reputation for its sensor research, which provides enormous potential for translation into practical benefits for society.

“To receive €2m funding under the European Framework is a mark of confidence in the excellence and the relevance of research at DCU. I am particularly delighted with this award at a time of such financial constraints, and with the extent to which DCU will collaborate with other EU partner institutions and organisations in Spain, Italy, Greece and Northern Ireland,” MacCraith said.

Another of the projects uses wearable sensors and sensors in the environment to create immersive collaborative environments that support realistic interpersonal communication between people, across the internet.

One of the use cases planned for this is where people come together to collectively learn from an expert, such as in a dance class, or aerobics, tai chi, painting, sculpture, etc.

For example, a ballet teacher illustrates to a class of dance students, the movements that should be performed to a particular musical score. The class members, although not physically present, are present in the same online virtual 3D dance studio.

The 3D dance movements of the teacher and each student are captured in real-time, encoded, transmitted across the internet and played back in 3D, thus re-creating the experience of being there.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years