Computer scientist looks for deeper meaning in webcam videos

Feb 11, 2014 by Keith Hautala

Nathan Jacobs is looking for ways to understand images in new ways. 

An assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky, Jacobs' research is focused on ways to use computers to interpret and understand of outdoor scenes. 

Using large sets of images collected from webcams or images uploaded to , Jacobs can extract and build algorithms that use those patterns to make inferences and create predictions about the world around us.

"They can be patterns that we use to understand the patterns themselves, or patterns that we use to understand things about the camera or the location that we're in," Jacobs said. "We're really interested in taking video of outdoor scenes and trying to understand how people are moving through them, and how the way people move through an outdoor scene changes, based on various other conditions." 

As an example, the presence of clouds moving through a scene can potentially be used to make inferences about the three-dimensional geometry of the scene, about which direction the camera is facing, or about the types of clouds moving through the scene. A similar type of pattern recognition can be used to detect and predict human movement, such as traffic on city streets or even pedestrians on campus. This data can be used to characterize normal movement patterns, which can be helpful in a variety of problem-solving applications. 

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Jacobs' work is featured in the above video, produced by the UK Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments (Vis Center) as part of its "What's Next" series. It may also be viewed at "Reveal," the official website for UK Research Media, at http://reveal.uky.edu.

Explore further: Research enhances online security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research enhances online security

Jan 21, 2014

As the digital world becomes more and more integrated with day-to-day life, computer scientist Samson Cheung's research is helping to provide necessary safeguards, without sacrificing the benefits brought ...

Recommended for you

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

3 hours ago

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells

3 hours ago

Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of "MatHero". The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

3 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...