Feeds

DARPA says surveillance vid-search tool is ready for use

To roll out across 'multiple military programmes'

Top three mobile application threats

US military warboffins claim that they have found one of the internet's holiest grails – that of true, tagless searchable-video technology.

For most of us, searching a video archive is a chancy matter. The perfect piece of footage we want to see may well be in there, but the only chance of finding it is usually that a person has already seen it and attached suitable text for a search engine to index and find for us.

This is a particularly major snag for the US military and intelligence communities, whose fleets of drone aircraft, aerostat balloons, satellites etc produce a flood of full-motion surveillance video which is usually seen once by a human being at best – often not at all – before pouring away into the secret archives.

Hence the war-boffins of DARPA naturally sought to develop wonder-software which could work with the actual video itself and highlight "specific events or activities at specific locations or over a range of locations" or carry out "fast, content-based searches of existing video archives".

As with most DARPA projects, chances of success seemed slim; most of the agency's efforts achieve no success (or unexpected successes largely irrelevant to the original goal), as DARPA is specifically tasked with high-risk research.

However the Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool (VIRAT) effort seems to have actually worked – at least to some degree, anyway. We learn from a mandatory federal contract announcement issued yesterday that success is within reach and that VIRAT will now be deployed into various operational military-intelligence video archives and systems:

This sole source contract is for the integration of software code into multiple programs of record for full motion video (FMV) exploitation for the Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool (VIRAT). This third phase of the VIRAT program will demonstrate rapid refinement of query results and the capability to accommodate complex searches that include multiple, dynamic events within a single query ...

The job will be done by US defence megacorp Lockheed for an unspecified sum.

Just how well VIRAT actually works probably won't become public knowledge anytime soon: but the mere knowledge that it exists and works to a useful degree will no doubt cause some excitement at the major search providers.

Just as DARPA gave birth to the internet and thus to Google's original business model, so it seems that the military boffins may in time build the search colossus – or its rivals – a new one. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.