Washington, June 23 : European computer scientists these days are trying to develop systems that can enable people to freely concentrate on their real work, instead of having to think about devices they own, and how to operate them.
CHIL, an EU-funded project that officially ended in August 2007, has already led to the creation of systems that could understand the context of meetings and proactively help the participants by controlling the meeting environment.
Such systems might be helpful in filtering and responding to incoming mobile phone calls to each person participating in a meeting, secretly reminding participants of facts such as other participants' names, and providing a virtual shared workspace for all.
The researchers associated with the project have revealed that they will observe how police or fire officials in a crisis management room handle incoming data in an emergency situation, and try to devise ways to enable them to communicate both amongst themselves and with the outside world.
"We want to build a smart environment supporting this kind of work, with big interactive displays and relevant services and a lot of perception components. Then we will take the best of them and develop them even further for practical applications, after working with the emergency services to see how this can best be done to meet their requirements," Science Daily quoted Stiefelhagen, who is also involved with this project, as saying.
A new startup company, Videmo Intelligent Video Analysis, has plans to develop another CHIL application that will provide the service to retailers and surveillance firms.
The company is developing software for intelligent video analysis with a focus on customer monitoring in retail situations. Such a system will automatically analyse customer behaviour to show which displays are attracting attention and which are not.
As regards security purposes, the system will provide video-based monitoring and analysis of point-of-sale systems, including automatic fraud detection.
"There are a lot of CCTVs continually monitoring, but 95 per cent of the time the data is simply recorded and stored away. What this company aims to do is build more intelligent video analysis programs which can perform tasks such as automatically identifying wanted people or recognising suspicious walking and movement patterns," says Stiefelhagen
The researchers are also trying to develop a smart house, moving from the single-room environment that served as test-bed for the project's researchers.
Here, the house computer will work like a butler, anticipating the inhabitant's needs.
A CHIL technology called SmarTrack - a real-time system that provides accurate information about the spatial location of people in sports analysis - may allow for online analysis of the important phases of the game during TV coverage, which may help support the commentators.
Face recognition is another area that may be ripe for development, replacing or augmenting PIN codes and other forms of biometric security access, such as fingerprints.
Its potential applications include access control to buildings, offices, computers and the internet, as well as for the authentication for electronic transactions.