Revolutionary Object-Tracking Video Software Released as Open Source

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This young man’s software is causing a bit of a stir.

He’s invented code that doesn’t simply recognize faces, but can track them as they move around. Not just faces, either. Almost any object you define on screen can be monitored, tracked, and memorized for future use.

Zdenek Kalal‘s pioneering work in object tracking has resulted in a system he calls Predator, which he’s just released to the world under an open source license. It’s also won him an award.

In short, Predator can be shown any object – face and fingertips, yes, but also pretty much anything you can imagine – and then track it in a video stream.

It learns as it tracks. It watches for movements in the object, and works out what it looks like from various angles and in different lighting conditions. It’s astonishing stuff.

That crashing noise you can hear is the emails landing in Zdenek Kalal’s inbox. Since announcing this to the world, he’s been inundated with hundreds of emails from people wanting to put his technology to use. Earlier today, he released version 1.0 of his software under the GPL open source licence. The software will run on many common personal computers right now, and could perhaps be adapted for use on cell phones too.

Where will we see Zdenek’s software in the future? Good question. In computer interfaces? Possibly. In police and security stations, monitoring individuals under video surveillance? Sounds plausible. Those and a thousand other possibilities beckon.

Kalal’s PhD supervisor said Predator could go far: “It can also be used in other areas such as human computer interactions, augmented reality, video post-production, motion capture, visual surveillance, robot navigation and assisted driving.”

Remember the name Zdenek Kalal – I have a feeling you’ll be seeing it again one day.