Public Release: 

Software-driven, 360-degree surveillance system ready for use at potential terror targets

Lehigh University

Software developed by a Lehigh University engineering professor that provides round-the-clock, all-weather, 360-degree security surveillance is one step closer to being used at military bases, nuclear power plants and other potential targets of terrorism.

GuardianWATCH, whose underlying algorithms were developed by Terry Boult, professor of computer science and engineering, was licensed commercially last month to Guardian Solutions Inc., a one-year-old start-up company based in Florida.

Michael Baron, president of Guardian Solutions, said Boult's software offers several critical advantages over other surveillance systems:

* It provides more information about the activities of a possible intruder at a site. Systems that emphasize identifying intruders and monitoring their behavior, said Baron, offer less preventive protection, given the current state of face-recognition software. "Our goal is to prevent disasters, not identify the face of a guy who blows something up."

* It alerts security guards, local police and even government security forces, and provides real-time video footage of intruders' movements using remote-controlled sensors. "GuardianWATCH allows security personnel to track the situation as it is happening, instantly notifying all relevant parties and providing an accurate geospatial view of irregular activities," said Takeo Kanade, a Guard Solutions board member who is professor and former director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University.

* It cuts down on false alarms and nuisance alarms, Baron says, "by throwing out unneeded information and honing in on critical information."

* It cuts cost by enabling security personnel to concentrate their efforts at the site of suspected intrusion. "Manpower can be used more efficiently as the system aids in tracking the suspect, and security personnel are deployed only when and where necessary," says Baron.

* Its thermal infrared feature can "see" in storms, rain and snow, and at night, eliminating the need for extra lighting.

* It is compatible with normal cameras and existing security systems. "It makes dumb cameras intelligent," says Baron.

Baron said Guardian Solutions would market GuardianWATCH to nuclear power plants, military bases and embassies, airports, seaports, oil pipelines, fuel and chemical storage facilities, and sports stadiums.

GuardianWATCH is the successor to LOTS - the Lehigh Omnidirectional Tracking System - which uses software and a stationary camera with a 360-degree field to give viewers an undistorted view of moving targets.

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LOTS was funded through grants from the U.S. Defense Department and tested by the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning, Ga. The system also took part in a multi-vendor comparison at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.

Assisting Boult on GuardianWATCH were four Ph.D. candidates: Yin Chen and Xiang Gao (electrical engineering), and Li Yu and Michael Eckmann (computer science).

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