NPL takes step forward with gait recognition system

The UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a walking gait recognition system that can be used to help track a person through a CCTV-monitored area by analysing the way that they walk.

NPL's gait recognition system
NPL’s gait recognition system

Engineers at NPL used computer-aided design (CAD) software to create a virtual model of a monitored area, which included gait recognition points linked with live video feeds from cameras monitoring the physical space.

Each of these recognition points recorded a gait signature when an individual passed them by. The signature separates a fixed background and moving subject during the natural cycle of walking to form silhouettes. Measurements are taken of the rise and fall of head height between each silhouette — a pattern that can be represented by a set of numbers.

On recording a person’s gait signature, the system is then able to check to see where else that person has been in the building and displays the results in the computer model.

NPL believes the work represents a major step towards a standardised gait recognition system that could ultimately be used to help monitor high-security environments such as airports.

The system has been developed as part of the £3.1m, partly TSB-funded VSAR (Viewers Situational and Spatial Awareness for Applied Risk and Reasoning)  project, a collaborative initiative that also involves BAE Systems, the BBC and the Centre for Advanced Software Technology (CAST).