Science

IISER Bhopal team develops a unique ‘Crowd and Mask’ Monitoring System to prevent Covid-19 spread

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 22, 2021

A prototype of the Mask and Crowd Monitoring System developed at IISER Bhopal

The portable system can monitor the movement of people in the campus and if the camera detects that the social distancing and mask norms were not being followed, the device starts alerting the crowd with a pre-recorded message

This one-of-its-kind low cost AI-enabled device is portable and easy to deploy across various locations

Now that educational institutions are slowly opening up for offline classes, an innovation from researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, could be of some help in preventing widespread Covid-19 transmission.

An IISER Bhopal team, led by P B Sujit, an associate professor at its department of electrical engineering and computer science, has developed a low cost ‘Crowd and Mask’ monitoring system, which uses artificial intelligence to ensure the Covid-19 prevention norms are followed.

This was developed as the IISER started the process of bringing students back to campus in phases. “We wanted a simple advisory system to warn students of breaching social distancing norms at selected locations,” said Sujit.

Workings

The team which included Mitradip Bhattacharjee and Santanu Talukdar, assistant professors in Sujit’s department, Venkateshwar Rao, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and student Kasi Viswanath, used the principles of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI-ML) in a high definition camera attached to a microchip computer and a 5V battery in a 3D printed case.

The portable system can monitor the movement of people in the campus and if the camera detects that the social distancing and mask norms were not being followed, the device starts alerting the crowd with a pre-recorded message.

According to Sujit, the image recognition software recognises people and draws a rectangle on each person. The system then takes the centre of each rectangle and checks if the distance between two rectangles is less than 1 metre. If it is less than 1 metre then a signal is given to the speaker to play the alert for 3 seconds.

Similarly, the image recognition software is trained with people wearing masks and not wearing masks. If it detects a face without mask, it sends out an alarm.

Impact

The innovators deployed the device at the campus in October 2020 and continuously improved it till it became stable with minimum false alarms. As a result, people have become sensitive to the social distancing violation and are following the safety protocol with more caution.

The innovators are planning to open source the complete system along with a how-to-use tutorial for the betterment of society in such disruptive times.

“Given opportunity, this device can be deployed at various crowded public places to ensure that the basic safety rules are not violated in this tough time of Covid-19 pandemic,” said the IISER Bhopal team.

Published on February 22, 2021

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