Hitachi System Identifies Faces in Live Video

Dennis Faas's picture

The push to create smarter surveillance systems recently produced a major leap forward: A Japanese company has unveiled a new security system that can identify one particular face in a crowd in just one second flat.

At the 2012 Security Show Expo in Tokyo, Hitachi revealed an exciting new security system that can scan a myriad of faces and compare them against 36 million records in a security database, and find all the matches in time to make use of the information.

Using facial recognition to process surveillance footage is an established concept. In the United Kingdom, Scotland Yard has already started to implement systems with this capability, in the wake of last year's London riots. (Source:

Live Video Facial Recognition

But whereas previous systems can analyze only pre-recorded footage, creating a significant delay in the recognition process, the new Hitachi offering can scan faces and find matches directly on live video.

This new capability could significantly reduce the time it would take to identify an alleged criminal and take steps to make an arrest.

This remarkable Hitachi surveillance system is also able to comb through archived footage and identify any targeted individuals. This makes possible entirely new police investigative methods.

If a store owner, for example, is unsure whether or not a theft had taken place, he or she can point out a suspect in real time (recognized faces appear as clickable thumbnail photos) and the authorities can have access to that person's recent actions within seconds.

Angles, Face Size Can Fool The System

As with any new technology, the 'instant recognition' surveillance system has a few drawbacks.

First, faces to be identified cannot be turned away from the camera by more than 30 degrees, left or right.

Second, facial images to be recognized must contain at least 1600 pixels, which effectively means they must be of a certain minimum size. (Source:

A video of how the system operates can be seen at the following link.

Hitachi has announced plans to make the system available for purchase as early as next spring.


Rate this article: 
No votes yet