The future of video surveillance: HD, hyperspectral and stereoscopic

February 05, 2014 // By Julien Happich
The future of video surveillance: HD, hyperspectral and stereoscopic
Freeze! You’re blushing, we see your blood pumping abnormally fast and our analytical software tells us that you contravene crowd flow statistics, which is yet another reason to closely inspect and match your 3D facial features to our would-be criminal database, that is, anyone we have on record for citizenship.

Privacy advocate groups may manage to mute two-way audio surveillance cameras in some countries and the level of video coercion may not be felt so strongly by passers-by as most people are unaware of the level of analytics and geo-fencing that newly installed IP-connected HD surveillance cameras bring with them.

But new surveillance cameras are no longer installed in a “record just-in-case then delete” scheme, in fact they are already adding their bulk of big data to the cloud.

With Imec’s recent announcement that it now supplies hyperspectral imaging sensor technology to strategic partners for its deployment into commercial camera solutions including for global security markets, you can be sure this new capability will blend-in with the latest surveillance trends such as HD resolution and to some extent, stereoscopic vision.


Of course, hyperspectral imaging is amazingly efficient at discriminating materials for sorting products, at identifying substances to check the freshness of foodstuff or to detect hazardous or illicit ones in airports. Implementing this technology into industrial machine vision or medical imaging can bring huge benefits to society. Medical applications are plentiful, from skin and tissue analysis for cancer detection to blood vessel imaging, or bacteria detection based on characteristic spectra.


Because until now they were quite costly and bulky, hyperspectral imaging systems were mostly used in high-end remote sensing instruments such as satellites and airborne systems (for precision agriculture to assess crop quality or to identify different types of lands, contamination etc..). But imec’s breakthrough using narrow-band spectral filters at pixel level, applied through semiconductor thin-film processing, means that compact hyperspectral image sensors could be mass produced at low cost. This is a boon for camera vendors as it opens up new markets.

Yet, where will this drive surveillance?

How about performing real-time video analytics on your health status, churning data out of your skin’s spectral signature and combining this with crowd control tactics or even discriminating video

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