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Researchers Develop System That Can Locate Shooters Using Smartphone Video

Specifically, the system looks at the time delay between the crack caused by a supersonic bullet's shock wave and the muzzle blast, which travels at the speed of sound

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By using Video from three or more smartphones, the direction from which the shots were fired -- and the shooter's location -- can be calculated based on the differences in how long it takes the muzzle blast to reach each camera. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a system that can accurately locate a shooter based on Video recordings from as few as three smartphones.

The system, called Video Event Reconstruction and Analysis (VERA), won’t necessarily replace the commercial microphone arrays for locating shooters that public safety officials already use, although it may be a useful supplement for public safety when commercial arrays aren’t available.

“One key motivation for assembling VERA was to create a tool that could be used by human rights workers and journalists who investigate war crimes, terrorist acts and human rights violations,” study researcher Alexander Hauptmann from Carnegie Mellon University in the US.

When demonstrated using three video recordings from the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded, the system correctly estimated the shooter’s actual location — the north wing of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

The estimate was based on three gunshots fired within the first minute of what would be a prolonged massacre.

VERA uses machine learning techniques to synchronise the video feeds and calculate the position of each camera based on what that camera is seeing.

“But it’s the audio from the video feeds that’s pivotal in localising the source of the gunshots,” Hauptmann said.

Specifically, the system looks at the time delay between the crack caused by a supersonic bullet’s shock wave and the muzzle blast, which travels at the speed of sound.

It also uses audio to identify the type of gun used, which determines bullet speed.

VERA can then calculate the shooter’s distance from the smartphone.

“When we began, we didn’t think you could detect the crack with a smartphone because it’s really short,” Hauptmann said.

“But it turns out today’s cell phone microphones are pretty good,” Hauptmann added.

Video
Researchers have developed a system that can accurately locate a shooter based on Video recordings from as few as three smartphones. Pixabay

By using video from three or more smartphones, the direction from which the shots were fired — and the shooter’s location — can be calculated based on the differences in how long it takes the muzzle blast to reach each camera.

VERA is not limited to detecting gunshots.

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“It is an event analysis system that can be used to locate a variety of other sounds relevant to human rights and war crimes investigations,” Hauptmann said.

The researchers presented VERA and released it as open-source code at the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Conference on Multimedia in Nice, France. (IANS)

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Apple Plans to Unveil “Completely Wireless” iPhone

Furthermore, a note also mentions the five new phones that Apple will release in the year 2020

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Apple
Recently, the J.P. Morgan report claimed that in 2021, Apple could change how it releases iPhones. The iPhone maker could decide to release phones twice a year, instead of the single release in the fall. Pixabay

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed that Apple is planning to launch a “completely wireless” iPhone in 2021, suggesting that the iPhone maker is not switching to USB-C, but rather dropping the port entirely.

“Apple will create more differentiation between the highest-end and high-end models. It will benefit the shipment of the highest-end model and iPhone ASP. Among new 2H21 iPhone models, we expect that the highest-end model would cancel the [Lightning] port and provide the completely wireless experience,” Kuo said in a research note, MacRumors reported recently.

Furthermore, the note also mentions the five new phones that Apple will release in the year 2020.

One 6.7-inch high-end iPhone, two 6.1-inch iPhones and one entry-level 5.4-inch iPhone, each of which would also have support for Sub-6GHz and/or mmWave 5G.

Apple
Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed that Apple is planning to launch a “completely wireless” iPhone in 2021, suggesting that the iPhone maker is not switching to USB-C, but rather dropping the port entirely. Pixabay

Kuo also expects a new iPhone SE to be coming sometime in the first half of 2020. It is expected to have a 4.7-inch display and mimic the size and design of the iPhone 8 with updated internals, and an updated single camera.

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Recently, the J.P. Morgan report claimed that in 2021, Apple could change how it releases iPhones. The iPhone maker could decide to release phones twice a year, instead of the single release in the fall. (IANS)