The objective of the project “Sensing, Communication and Computational Intelligence” is to develop methodologies, technologies and systems for designing intelligent agents which, through acquisition, transmission, processing, analysis and interpretation of multi-sensory data, can work autonomously or cooperate with human operators for making decisions in different fields of application.
The cultural framework of the project involves the following issues:
• Data Acquisition and Transmission: Design and development of multi-sensory systems and advanced technologies in contexts characterized by technological needs such as: inter-connectivity (wired or wireless), remote control, management of high flows of data, real-time storage of big data, data compression, energy harvesting, energy management, etc.
• Data Fusion and Interpretation: Design and development of methodologies for processing and fusing multisource and multimodal data. Design and development of tools for the analysis of data, for the selection of features, for decision support systems.
• Decision Support: Design and development of methodologies (such as neural classifiers, Bayesian classifiers, SVM, Statistical classifiers, HMM, etc.) for decision support, for the development of HMI interfaces and intelligent systems that cooperate with the operators for decision and control problems.
Performance Optimization: Development of methodological solutions in order to meet the real needs of end users. Design and development of specialized implementation using advanced technologies such as advanced HMI interfaces.
The following are just a few of the numerous potential application fields: diagnostics and quality control in transport, industry, aerospace, agro-food and health; autonomous navigation of mobile platforms; service robotics; surveillance and security; real-time monitoring of highly dynamic events; cultural heritage preservation and exploitation.
The group also has extensive knowledge of ICT infrastructures, networking and network security, and more specifically:
• engineering and management of cloud-based and mission-critical network infrastructures;
• energy-aware optimization, including frequency control of host composing datacenters, migration of virtual machine and the impact of security mechanisms on the overall consumption;
• network security aspects, ranging from the hardening of production-quality setups to research activities in the field of information hiding.
• IoT, mobile computing/networking and smart-based services, especially applied to the access to and control of remote facilities (e.g., for manufactoring environments).
HIGH RESOLUTION SURFACE RECONSTRUCTION
In the last decades, quality control in manufacturing industries has increasingly gained importance in the inspection of complex assemblies in many mechanical fields, such as aeronautics and automotive. Conventional systems make use of touching probes, which are have inherent application limits since they are unsuitable for handling delicate objects and can lead to ambiguous measurements when the probe itself is deflected by the target. For these reasons, contactless optical probes, such as those based on laser triangulation, have been developed in order to get reliable, very fast measurements with low noise. This aspect has paved the way for many applications in different fields beyond mechanics, such as reverse engineering, plastic surgery, environmental reconstruction and cultural heritage.
The research activity of ISSIA-CNR is devoted to the definition of a novel triangulation-based 3D laser scanner able to recover the shape of challenging targets with the resolution of a few microns, often comparable with the physical diffraction limit. Accurate calibration strategies, techniques for deletion of second-order reflections and postprocessing filters are directly investigated and developed, with results that constitute the modern state of the art in 3D range sensors.
INSPECTION AND QUALITY EVALUATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
The term inspection generally refers to examination, measurement, testing and gauging of certain characteristics of objects (visual appearance, dimension, shape, etc.). The results are usually compared to specified requirements and standards to determine the level of acceptance of the examined objects. The inspection is done in a non-destructive way whenever possible.
In the agricultural & food industry, inspection and quality control are currently performed by subjective visual and/or tactile evaluation or by instrumental (chemical or physical) measures that are often destructive and can therefore only be applied to production samples. Calibrated colour images as well as multispectral and hyper-spectral analysis and imaging can provide useful information about the external (colour, dimension, shape, etc.) and internal (antioxidants, polyphenols, sugar contents, firmness, etc.) condition of agricultural products. ISSIA’s multispectral and hyper-spectral lab cooperates with the Institute of Sciences of Food Production of the CNR to identify protocols and instruments to evaluate the quality of several agricultural products.
Calibrated colour images have been used to grade IV range products (nectarines) using the commonly used five levels quality scale. The grading determined automatically by the computer vision system has proved to be in line with state-of-the-art destructive evaluation carried out in the lab and to outperform the colour measurements provided by colorimeters. Moreover, the computer vision system brings colour evaluation at pixel resolution.
Calibrated color images have also been successfully employed to feed input data into a model that predicts antioxidant activity and phenol levels in carrots. In this application, the capability of the computer vision system to evaluate color at pixel resolution enables detection of more meaningful, revealing regions of the product and identification of chromatic characteristics that are in line with lab measurements. In addition, a computer vision system can be easily integrated into industrial contexts to enable the grading of the whole production.
Moreover simplified tools are being investigated to design portable instruments that can be used at several stages of the products’ life to objectively and consistently evaluate their compatibility with market constraints.
3D VISUAL ANALYSIS FOR SURVEILLANCE
Estimation of people location.
People Tracking by a multi-camera system is a very important task in surveillance environments, and is beneficial to many applications such as behaviour recognition, group and interaction detection. The 3D people localization in a world reference system by multi-camera approaches allows the reduction of false alarms and uncertainty typical of monocular vision systems, which suffer the consequences of occlusions and cluttered backgrounds. Significant robustness and automation are achieved by introducing automatic ground plane estimation, confidence filtering, cross-camera correspondence estimation and multi-camera fusion.
Estimation of body pose
Body pose estimation can help surveillance systems in many aspects. For example, from body orientation we know what a person is probably looking at. This is especially useful in surveillance videos where low resolution only allows coarse head pose or gaze tracking. It is also important for group and interaction detection. For example, when people are interacting, they typically face towards each other (especially when they are static). Such group analysis cannot be performed accurately with location information alone, and body pose introduces valuable complement cues. 3D visual analysis by multi-camera approaches can greatly help estimate body orientation and velocity when people are either moving or static.
Human action recognition is a major current research topic in computer vision since it represents a strategic requirement for intelligent surveillance systems. The basic problems in human action recognition are how to learn and model relevant actions from training samples, and how effectively recognizing methods cope with small variations at spatial and time scales with similar classes of motion patterns.
Multi view methods have been recognized to be effective in these contexts. View invariant measures are necessary for the algorithms to maintain invariance to the different positions of the surveillance cameras. Different representations are used for human action recognition such as geometric models of body parts, optical flows patterns, space time interest points, shape based representations. When undistinguishing poses are observed, a valuable contribution comes from 3D analysis derived by multi camera approaches.
The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory in which biotechnologists, physicists and computer scientists address questions relative to life sciences with computational approaches. They are mainly involved in analysis and integration of high-dimensional, heterogeneous data generated by high-throughput technologies, for highlighting key genetic markers and for unveiling the mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of complex and multifactorial diseases.
Moreover, the laboratory is equipped with a High Performance Computer Server, constituted by 64 computational nodes. Each node is provided with an Intel quadcore dual processor, 24 GB RAM, 250 GB disk and is interconnected in INFINIBAND. The server has a 14 TB storage system.
Safety in aeronautics could be improved if continuous checks were guaranteed during in-service inspection of aircraft. However, until now, maintenance costs for in-service inspection have proved to be prohibitive for airlines. For this reason there is great interest in the development of low cost nondestructive inspection techniques that can be applied during normal routine tests. Inspecting aircraft to detect internal defects of their composite materials (not detectable by visual inspection) is a difficult task unless invasive techniques are applied. The ISSIA computer vision research group has been involved for a number of years in addressing the problem of inspecting composite materials by automatic analysis of thermographic techniques or ultrasonic signals.
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