Here at EP HQ we’re fascinated by the human body, how it moves, how people hold themselves, how the shape of the body over time reflects the kind of life we’ve led.
An interesting feature on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science last week got our attention. It was about the way we walk. Our gait like the iris, fingerprint and voice is unique to each one of us, but unlike those other biometrics, you don’t need to be directly in front of a scanner, camera or microphone to be able to identify someone. It can now be done at a distance and with great accuracy thanks to new 3D, super high resolution technology. Ideal for confirming the identity of criminals from CCTV footage, for example.
The School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University has developed a facility called the Gait Tunnel – a red carpet passing through a brightly coloured, vividly patterned three to four metre-long corridor lined with 12 cameras. The gait, i.e. the motion of the legs, is analysed using mathematical equations programmed into computers which process the images from the cameras. It is three-dimensional, the views from each camera intersected to provide a solid, 360 degree reconstruction of the person as they’re walking. Two or three strides of a person walking provides a set or pattern of numbers, a statistical footprint of their gait if you like, which can then be used to recognise them.
To close, a classic Monty Python sketch…