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Purdue researchers develop system that allows security cameras to send alerts directly to people’s phones

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a technology that enables public security cameras to send personalized alerts to people’s phones without invading their privacy.

The PHADE system uses motion patterns rather than IP or MAC addresses to communicate with phones, which are able to make their own decisions on whether to accept the message.

“Our technology enables public cameras to send customized messages to targets without any prior registration,” said He Wang, an assistant professor in the Purdue Department of Computer Science, who created the technology along with his PhD student, Siyuan Cao. “Our system serves as a bridge to connect surveillance cameras and people and protects targets’ privacy.”

PHADE protects privacy in two ways — it keeps the users’ personal sensing data within their smartphones and it transforms the raw features of the data to blur partial details.

PHADE can be used in places such as at a museum to send visitors information about the artifacts or exhibits they are viewing, or in shopping malls to provide consumers with digital product information or coupons. In a similar way, PHADE could be valuable for new self-service store prototypes such as Amazon Go, which uses phone technology instead of traditional checkout registers.

“PHADE may also be used by government agencies to enhance public safety,” Cao said. “For example, the government can deploy cameras in high-crime or high-accident areas and warn specific users about potential threats, such as suspicious followers.”

According to Wang, surveillance camera and security companies could integrate the PHADE technology into their products directly.

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization helped file patent applications for PHADE and is currently seeking partners to license the technology.

Source: Purdue Research Foundation

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