Computer Vision Designed for Safe & Speedy Landmine Removal

Researchers Roger Achkar and Michel Owayjan at the American University of Science & Technology, Beirut, Lebanon have published the simulation results of a computer vision system they are developing that uses autonomous robots to detect landmines.

Landmines plague over 60 countries and where 80% of landmine victims were military personnel a century ago, today, 90% are civilians. While anti-personnel landmines are planted underground, anti-tank landmines are above ground and therefore visible to the computer vision system.

Courtesy of American University of Science & Technology, Beirut, Lebanon

Landmines as stored in an Artificial Neural Network for Machine Learning Purposes
Landmines to be detected and classified

Landmine Models as Extracted in a Computer Vision Simulation
Landmines extracted during simulation

Using an autonomous robot equipped with computer vision overcomes several drawbacks of existing anti-tank minesweeping techniques.

Manual minesweeping where humans use metal detectors is dangerous, slow, and information capture to aid future efforts is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

Mechanized minesweeping is faster and eliminates the human safety concern; however, it cannot access the variety of locations humans can.

An autonomous robot with computer vision improves on mechanized minesweeping by using image processing and machine learning to continuously inform the next sweep.

The robot scans the terrain to see if a mine exists and uses a camera to capture the scanned area. Next, it processes the image digitally to minimize noise and bring out the features of the landmines.

Once images are enhanced, it accesses an Artificial Neural Network previously trained with images of known landmines. This enables the system to identify, recognize and classify them by make and model with a 90% success rate—even when the images captured show landmines rotated differently or partly hidden.

See the full article the September 2012 issue of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Applications (IJAIA) here.

This blog is sponsored by ImageGraphicsVideo, a company offering ComputerVision Software Development Services.

A new and easy way of cropping photos

There are many needs for programs that help users with image processing, such as editing and manipulating photos. That is why computer vision researchers at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have come out with a new online product which assists with exactly that.

The product, known as Croppola, is a free service which crops images for users, eliminating the grueling personal work required to turn OK shots in excellent ones. It works by allowing users to upload multiple images at once and choose aspect ratios for each individual shot. It also includes “custom” cropping which configures photos to the acceptable sizes for Instagram or Facebook.

Image courtesy of Croppola

While Croppola may not always hit the nail on the head, it seems to get it right most of the time. More so, it’s just another exciting example of the ways that computer vison makes it easier for average technology users to do so much more.