Robot See, Robot Kill

October 30, 2001 | Source: Wired News

Scientists are working on a camera that automatically tracks people as they move and focuses on the loudest person in a group. It was funded by the military, which wants to develop robot sentinels capable of automatically returning fire when attacked. The camera was originally developed to auto-focus on speakers during a video conference call or a college lecture.

In defense scenarios, a battery of cameras could be used to detect suspicious activities around ships and military bases. They may even be attached to guns that would automatically return fire if attacked.

The self-aiming camera is based on a neural network that mimics an area of the brain called the Superior Colliculus. Sensory inputs are scored depending on their strengths, and the system computes, or “decides,” how strong a response is needed. A weak sound may not attract the camera’s attention, but a weak sound paired with a slight movement might.