Thursday, April 2, 2009

Medical Machine Vision

A few days ago I expressed concern about the use of machine vision for surveillance. I still maintain that there should be greater public awareness and discussion of this issue, but I also recognize that there can be benefits from surveillance.

Over in the UK, two unrelated Doctor Smiths from the University of West England, (UWE) are working a
system to monitor infant breathing in hospitals. As I understand it from the article, their approach is to use structured light and image comparison. The structured light provides the 3D information, which will change slightly as the infant breathes: comparing images will show the breathing rate, and I imagine, even the intensity (short, shallow breaths, or long, deep ones.)

This strikes me as a great project that could yield major benefits for hospitals and their patients. Given the replication potential – x beds multiplied by y hospitals, where both x and y are big numbers – this has some serious commercial potential too. Dr. Smith and Dr. Smith deserve all the success they can reap from their efforts.

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