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Photos: Future safety tech on display

Making the world safer, one mini helicopter at a time
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By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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Making the world safer, one mini helicopter at a time

This unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could one day be used to monitor high-profile, large-scale events for safety.

The UAV is made by European defence and technology company EADS, which has been showing off the vehicle - along with a number of other research projects - as part of its 'Pulse' demonstration.

Pulse was on show this week at EADS' Innovation Works at Newport in South Wales, which was formally opened by Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan yesterday.

silicon.com went along for a look.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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The Pulse demonstration uses the 2010 Ryder Cup, which will be held near Newport, as an example for the kind of event the technology could be used to keep an eye on.

This image shows the UAV flying over and monitoring the Celtic Manor golf course which will be used in the biennial golf competition.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Police can monitor the whole event as it progresses using the footage from the UAV. In this mocked-up police command and control room scenario, the big screen on the left shows the view of the golf course from the vehicle.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Pulse also features a laser ion mobility spectrometer scanner which can detect if anyone is bringing substances into an event that could harm spectators.

It works by creating an updraft when someone walks through the scanner, releasing any loose particles which are picked up by sensors at the top. The sensors then analyse the particles for any sign of dangerous substances.

The system can also be used to detect substances on tickets and EADS claims it's more accurate than sniffer dogs.

If anything suspicious is picked up by the scanners, security officials could potentially use the UAV, as well as RFID chips in spectators' tickets, to track an individual and make sure they don't pose a threat to security.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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This is an image that could be received from the UAV as it tracks a potential troublemaker. It shows a suspected criminal (with a red trail) being followed around the Ryder Cup course by a security team member (blue).

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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This is a water monitoring technology that EADS is working on. It shows how part of a water distribution network at a major event could be automatically shut off to isolate a contaminant minutes after it has been identified.

The technology has been developed from a system used by the EADS aerospace division Airbus to check drinking water in planes is clean.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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In a separate but related demo, EADS and Edinburgh University showed off a research project which aims to show how meeting rooms in the future might operate.

The Instrumentive Meeting Room has a 360 degree camera (an image from which is shown on the screen) and microphone and uses speech recognition technology to identify which of the meeting's participants is talking, so when the minutes are transcribed, speech is attributed to the right person.

The idea behind the system is for the progress of meetings to be better understood and for people to be accountable for decisions that are taken.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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Here's a transcript produced for a meeting using the technology. As well as what was said, the tech can also identify who is speaking at any given time during playback using colour coding. At the top it also shows who spoke when and for how long.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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This shows technology developed by Pixcell with input from EADS: essentially, it's a system that can send information to the public in the event of a major incident.

After being wirelessly switched on to the alert system, screens that are normally used for advertising could be used to give a targeted group of people – at an event or particular area in a city - information about the incident.

For example, the screen on the right is alerting people that there is an explosive device in the building and giving instructions about what to do.

The system could also be used as a community notice board where information about local events could be posted from a central location.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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This is an image processing technology currently being developed at the EADS Innovation Works at Suresnes in France.

The technology, UrbanView, uses CCTV camera networks to monitor the movement of objects in urban areas.

The system extracts and categorises information from video streams that can then be used by police or other security forces.

For example, police could identify a particular person or vehicle of interest and work out its movements over a certain period of time.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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This shows the images that the UrbanView system has picked up in a video stream. These items can then be filtered to find the item of interest.

Using the system, the movements of a suspicious car can be traced back from the time it was parked to dtermine if it's been involved with anything suspect.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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EADS company Infoterra demonstrated its geospatial mapping system, Rapid Surveyor, which can make 200,000 measurements per second usings various technologies such as digital photogaphy and laser sensors.

The image above is of Leicester City Football Club's Walkers Stadium.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson/silicon.com

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