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Beijing firm unveils gait recognition tech

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A Beijing-based high-tech company released a security product on Friday which uses gait recognition technology to search for targets, which will likely be used to assist China's public security authorities to identify suspects, reported Global Times (China).

Developed by WATRIX, the product, called "Shuidi Shenjian," can target suspects by monitoring their posture as the suspects walk from a distance of up to 50 meters away. A person's walking posture is like a fingerprint, which is unique.

Gait recognition technology is more flexible than facial recognition technology. It is capable of identifying targets from any angle, regardless of if they cover their faces, wear different clothes or walk outside at night, without suspects being aware, Huang Yongzhen, CEO of WATRIX, told the Global Times on Friday.

Huang said that the company had inked deals with public security departments in Beijing's Fengtai district and in Shanghai. Security officials in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have also expressed interest in the security product.

The portable machine, weighing about 15 kilograms, can replace manual workers by quickly spotting suspects while they are walking. Users need to upload videos onto the machine first and offer the machine an example video of the target, then the machine can complete a search of one hour of video footage within 10 minutes. Its accuracy is about 94 percent.

But Huang said the technology still cannot detect targets in real-time videos, which is the next step of their research.

A research fellow from China's People's Public Security University of China told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that using gait recognition technology would meet the urgent demands of Chinese police.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing, also lauded the technology.

He told the Global Times that the technology, if successfully put into practice, would be a cutting-edge security-defense product that can be used for intelligence gathering and in anti-espionage.

However, the product will not be suitable for all terrain. Analysts pointed out the product will be less efficient when the suspect is at sea or in a desert environment, as the distance it works over is still too short.

At present, the product has been piloted in the public security system for more than 1,000 hours, and has been used in more than 20 cases. It has reviewed 2,000G of public security videos so far.

The gait recognition technology can also be applied in the medical field by allowing medical personnel to examine whether a patient has injured themselves and it can also be applied in oil fields to seek out intruders, as well as being used to design smart home furniture, Huang noted.

The company said it had inked deals with partners from 12 provinces and municipalities, worth more than 132 million yuan ($19 million).

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