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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C523989/1
Title: The Smart Floor: Person Identification and Tracking by Sensing Vibration Generated by Footfall - Crime Feasibility Study
Principal Investigator: Brennan, Professor MJ
Other Investigators:
Mace, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cybula Ltd
Department: Inst of Sound and Vibration Research
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 July 2005 Ends: 30 June 2006 Value (£): 61,717
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Acoustics Eng. Dynamics & Tribology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The identification of people has become increasingly important in recent years because of a greater requirement to improve security, especially in buildings. This is likely to become even more important due to the ever-present terrorist threat. To date this has been achieved by a number of means including the use of video, audio, or a combination of these to identify and track a person in a room. Although these technologies are well developed, some problems remain. Video recognition is stymied by occlusions, shadows and lighting inconsistencies, and audio recognition suffers from the problems of background noise and requires a person to speak in order to function.Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in certain situations, people can be recognised by the sound generated by their footsteps. This is not currently used in person identification and tracking systems, and would be useful additional information which could potentially significantly enhance the identification of a person, especially in the dark.This proposal is concerned with a feasibility study into the use of vibration generated by walking as a way of identifying a person. If successful, in the long-term this technology could be used in a whole range of applications mainly in the area of building security. For example, one could envisage a domestic burglar alarm system that never had to be turned off, or in public buildings people could be checked in and out and tracked within the building without the need for them to check in or out.This research is high-risk and adventurous, and to minimise the risk a feasibility study is proposed. In this initial work, the researchers will build on previous research conducted in the USA, and will determine the feasibility of identifying a person by measuring acceleration or dynamic strain of a flexible floor on which they walk. In previous work it has been demonstrated that a person could be identified with 90% accuracy by measuring the force generated by a person when they walk on an instrumented tile. In this proposal, the investigators wish to determine if alternative, more practical sensing arrangements, can achieve the same results. In this initial study the research will concentrate on the identification and location of a single person, and will involve comprehensive set of experiments and some simulations to explore the limitations of the technique
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk