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ISC West 2013 -- AXIS Communications partners with Wentworth to develop camera apps

Ramirez, Hotchkiss, Gelfman

AXIS Communications, the IP camera supplier, has established an innovative partnership with the Wentworth Institute of Technology, of Boston, MA, to tap the fertile brains of some of Wentworth's students to develop new applications that can be used on a variety of AXIS cameras.

Like Apple before them, the folks at AXIS are hoping to create a stable of new apps that can stretch the frontier of what is possible to do on their cameras.

Under a partnership program launched a few months ago, about 25 to 30 students are being exposed to AXIS's technology in a classroom setting, and about six to eight students have already come up with ideas for possible new apps. Of that group, four were presented to the technical managers at AXIS, which is based in nearby Chelmsford, MA, and two promising ideas have been furthered developed, and will be displayed this week at the AXIS booth at the ISC West trade show in Las Vegas.

Charles Hotchkiss, the interim chairman of the department of computer science and networking at Wentworth, appeared at an AXIS press conference and explained that Wentworth was immediately eager to begin collaborating with AXIS. He introduced two students, Joshua Ramirez and Nicholas Gelfman, who had already come up with some intriguing ideas that could be used on AXIS cameras.

Ramirez noted that he works at Wentworth's on-campus radio station and had long been frustrated by the unwillingness of DJs and other station volunteers to sign in and sign out whenever they entered the station's studio, as required by station policy. With that challenge in mind, Ramirez has taken the initial steps in devising an app that would enable an AXIS camera to observe anyone entering or leaving the studio. When attached to a facial recognition algorithm, Ramirez's new app would automatically sign in and sign out the authorized students, and signal an alert if it observed someone that it did not recognize.

Ramirez told Government Security News that he has only been developing his concept for about six weeks -- and it is currently running on his computer, not yet an AXIS camera -- so he has not thought a great deal about protecting his intellectual property.

At the press conference, Frederik Nillson, the company's general manager, said the individual students or Wentworth itself would own the intellectual property associated with their inventions.

Nicholas Gelfman, who is only a freshman at Wentworth, has conceived of a new app that would "break the barrier" of two dimensional video images. Instead, he is developing a concept that could perceive the images captured on a video camera in three dimensions. This, in turn, could enable a camera (with the associated analytics) to recognize when an image is walking towards the camera, or any other movement measured in three dimensions.

Hotchkiss, the interim department chairman, is very impressed with the brainpower of the students who have jumped at the chance to work with AXIS's engineers. Some of the participants are only freshmen and sophomores, he told GSN. "It really makes me wonder what they'll be accomplishing in a few years," he added.