George Orwell’s dystopic ‘1984’ novel is no longer fiction, but a reality. Big tech has now developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology to monitor social distancing and identify those who don’t wear face masks while out in public, or perhaps even in their own homes.
According to tryolabs.com:
In the new world of coronavirus, multidisciplinary efforts have been organized to slow the spread of the pandemic. The AI community has also been a part of these endeavors.
But all this hype and anxiety to show off results as fast as possible, added up to the usual AI overpromising factor, may be signaling the wrong idea that solving some of these use cases is almost trivial due to the mighty powers of AI.
In an effort to paint a more complete picture, we decided to show the creative process behind a solution for a seemingly simple use case in computer vision:
1. Detect people that pass through a security-like camera.
2. Identify face mask usage.
3. Collect reliable statistics (% people wearing masks).
LeewayHertz, a company that builds software solutions using emerging technologies for startups and enterprises, explains that a new “Face Mask Detection System” will use existing IP cameras and CCTV cameras combined with “Computer Vision” to detect people without masks.
States, cities and businesses interested in using this technology will download an application and add their existing camera(s) to the network. They will then start receiving “no-mask data and alerts” and can choose to send those alerts via SMS to system administrators or even the violators themselves.
Face Mask Detection Platform uses Artificial Network to recognize if a user is not wearing a mask. The app can be connected to any existing or new IP mask detection cameras to detect people without a mask. App users can also add faces and phone numbers to send them an alert in case they are not wearing a mask. If the camera captures an unrecognized face, a notification can be sent out to the administrator.
A “Real-time Monitoring Dashboard” will also be available to allow users to see who was not wearing a mask and view the photo or the video captured by the camera. Reports of these violators can be generated and downloaded.
A section on leewayhertz.com titled ‘Use Cases’ gives a few examples of where exactly this new AI technology can be implemented:
The Face Mask Detection System can be used at airports to detect travelers without masks. Face data of travelers can be captured in the system at the entrance. If a traveler is found to be without a face mask, their picture is sent to the airport authorities so that they could take quick action. If the person’s face is already stored, like the face of an Airport worker, it can send the alert to the worker’s phone directly.
Using Face Mask Detection System, Hospitals can monitor if their staff is wearing masks during their shift or not. If any health worker is found without a mask, they will receive a notification with a reminder to wear a mask. Also, if quarantine people who are required to wear a mask, the system can keep an eye and detect if the mask is present or not and send notification automatically or report to the authorities.
The Face Mask Detection System can be used at office premises to detect if employees are maintaining safety standards at work. It monitors employees without masks and sends them a reminder to wear a mask. The reports can be downloaded or sent an email at the end of the day to capture people who are not complying with the regulations or the requirements.
Engadget.com reports a robot called ‘Pepper’ is being programmed and deployed to “politely suggest you wear a damn mask”:
We’ve seen Pepper, the cutesy robotic butler, provide customer service, offer info at train stations, sell smartphones and take your Pizza Hut order. Now, Pepper has a new public health mission. The humanoid is scanning faces to determine whether people are wearing masks.
Using an image recognition AI and Single Shot Detector, Pepper can scan the faces of up to five people at once. On Pepper’s tablet, a green circle will appear around an image of anyone wearing a mask, and a red circle will appear around the image of anyone without a mask. Pepper can thank people for wearing masks or remind someone to put a face covering on.
Main Image Credit: SoftBank Robotics Europe / YouTube
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