Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Image Recognition: Military uses pattern recognition to detect bomb planting activity

I wanted to call your attention to an article by the Strategy Page on how the US military in Iraq is using pattern recognition on imagery to detect IED (Improvised Explosive Device) emplacement activities.

A very simple implementation of this technique is to take a picture on Day 1, then another picture from the same location and in the same direction on Day 2. Next subtract the two images from each other and see what is left over. All the things that did not change between the two images will disappear and only those things that changed will be left! In this case, what will be see on the "difference image" might be some disturbed gravel, tire tracks off the side of the road (assuming it is a road-side bomb emplacement) or, if the military guys are really lucky, what will be left is a bunch of guys standing around with shovels and a bomb as they work to put it in place. Neat (and helpful)!

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