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ACCESS

  ACCESS video from SIGGRAPH 2003

A public art installation that applies web and surveillance technology to allow web users to automatically track individuals in public spaces with a unique, computer-vision-based, robotic spotlight and acoustic-beam system. The system does not require wearable gear.

Innovation
Although robotic spotlights have existed for years, they are all "dumb." The auto-tracking robotic spotlight developed for ACCESS is the first of its kind. ACCESS relies on real-time video analysis and extends motion tracking algorithms designed for computer vision to the public art sphere. Intel's Computer Vision Libraries (OpenCV) are a key element in the success of the project. In addition, the video tracking application uses a combination of custom video processing code and Microsoft's DirectShow API. The spotlight is controlled using DMX, a standard lighting control specification that runs over serial communication. Similarly, acoustic beams (or "audio spotlights") have never been robotically controlled using computer-vision techniques.

Since ACCESS requires real-time interaction via the web, the system also explores new territory in the areas of low-latency streaming video and control. One of the major technical challenges of the project is how to maintain an (almost) real-time control and feedback mechanism over the web without a major compromise in the quality of the video. The ACCESS system uses a combination of technologies to achieve this goal. Macromedia's Flash MX Communication Server serves the live video feed and handles queuing of passive vs. active clients. Additionally, a custom client/server application provides control and feedback from the tracking application. These two streams are combined in the ACCESS client application, which is viewed in a web browser using the flash MX plugin. The ACCESS web application expands the potential of widely available and ubiquitous technology, providing a unique media experience.

Goal
To explore the ambiguities among surveillance, control, visibility, and celebrity.

Contact
Marie Sester




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