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Is social distance being fulfilled at work? Artificial intelligence answers the question

Although the COVID-19 pandemic remains a worldwide reality, the truth is that teleworking is not always an option for everyone. With this in mind, a North American startup has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool capable of verifying whether employees are complying with social distance in the workplace. For this, the system analyzes real-time video streams captured by a camera.

In a statement, Landing AI gives the example of a factory that develops protection equipment. In this case, technicians can integrate the software into security systems to monitor the work environment. The tool can then highlight in red people whose social distance is below acceptable, as seen in the demonstration video released by the startup. The system can also issue an alert to remind people to keep a safe distance if the "protocol" is violated.

The issue of privacy is even more worrying in the middle of the pandemic. At the beginning of April, for example, there were more than 100 human rights, digital and civil liberties organizations concerned with the excesses of digital surveillance during this public health crisis. Even so, the startup clarifies that the system does not recognize individuals and advises customers to use this tool with "transparency and only with informed consent".

Calibration, detection and measurement: the three main stages of the process

The first stage of the pipeline is to compute the homography, which transforms the "view" of the camera into an area perspective, that is, from top to bottom. This process is what the company calls the calibration. Since the input frames are taken by a single camera, the simplest method of calibration involves selecting four points of view in perspective and mapping them to the corners of a rectangle through the top-down view, explains Landing AI . This presupposes that everyone is on the same plane.

Landing AI's AI tool calibration process On the left side, the original and right view is the top-down plane resulting from the calibration process

From this mapping, the team can obtain a homography that can be applied to the entire image in perspective. Although this method is known, the company guarantees that it can "be complicated to apply correctly". Therefore, it created a tool that users, and not technicians, can calibrate in real time.