MIT's AI Lab's Visual Surveillance and Monitoring Project

From: Matthew Gaylor (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 10:59:50 MST

Visual Surveillance and Monitoring Project

The Forest of Sensors project is the MIT AI Lab's video surveillance
and monitoring (VSAM) testbed. While there are many VSAM projects
(see Related Links), our project is set apart by its three primary
goals- persistence, full coverage, and automated configuration and

Persistence- Our system can run outdoors 24 hours a day 7, days a
week collecting data the entire time with minimal interruptions. Our
system has been running since September 1997 has processed on the
order of one billion frames. full coverage- Many existing systems
offer high-resolution, partial coverage of an area. Rather than using
pan/tilt/zoom cameras to maximize the resolution on a particular
object, our system uses many static cameras which offer full coverage
all the time. With the advent of cheap hardware (cameras, signal
processing, communications) we favor using many, small, cheap
autonomous vision modules, rather than a few, expensive pan-tilt
cameras only cover a portion of the scene at one time.

Automated configuration and processing- The most interesting aspect
of our work is that it is almost completely automated. Once the
cameras are placed and tracking begins, all the work performed by the
system is done with minimal human intervention. This includes
maintaining a tracking database, relative calibration of the cameras,
and object and activity classification.

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