This 500-megapixel “Super Camera” can instantly target individuals among crowds of tens of thousands

Sep 27, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This 500-megapixel “Super Camera” can instantly target individuals among crowds of tens of thousands

Sep 27, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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I remember when CCTV really became a big thing. For years, London had the most cameras of any city in the world. Now it appears that London has slipped behind, now sitting third behind Beijing and Chongqing in China. Although, these days, it’s not so much about how many cameras you have as it is about how many megapixels each of them has.

At the China International Industry Fair last week, scientists revealed a 500-megapixel cloud camera system, which they says is capable of capturing facial details of every individual in a crowd of tens of thousands of people.

The camera was designed by Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They say that the camera’s resolution is “five times more detailed than the human eye”, although the maths of it all is never really that simple. But it does come equipped with AI, facial recognition, real-time monitoring and cloud computing technology to offload the heavy lifting.

The purpose for this camera is, obviously surveillance. To what end, I will not speculate, but ABC reports that it can detect and identify human faces and other objects, and instantly find specific individuals even somewhere like a huge crowded stadium.

Images and video can be shot with the camera, although it’s processed up in the cloud. If we put potential legal and privacy issues aside, shifting around all that data, getting it processed in the cloud, and then sent back to wherever it needs to be sent to is a mammoth challenge. 500-megapixel images aren’t exactly small. And if the video is at full 500-megapixel resolution, well, yeah, have fun with that one!

Naturally, the camera has been met with a mixed response, with some in favour of the defensive and security applications it can assist with, while others are obviously concerned with privacy.

Whichever way you look at it, though, it’s a pretty amazing technical achievement.

[via ABC AU]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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10 responses to “This 500-megapixel “Super Camera” can instantly target individuals among crowds of tens of thousands”

  1. W Douglas LeBlanc Avatar
    W Douglas LeBlanc

    And one flash from a shiny green super laser can destroy the sensor win-win. ?

    1. Freelance cameraman China/HK Avatar
      Freelance cameraman China/HK

      Actually no, you need quite a powerful laser to kill it for sure.
      Just losing a pixel is not enough

    2. Eiman Ismail Avatar
      Eiman Ismail

      probably sensor array, so only 1 portion damaged, easily repairable

  2. Les Cameron Avatar
    Les Cameron

    … very interesting – now they need good “facial recognition” AI to really implement/take advantage of the “Super Camera” – maybe they could affectionately call the resulting combination of “Super Camera” + AI “Big Brother” ;-) (fwiw the article points out “The purpose for this camera is, obviously surveillance.”)

  3. Alexandre Pontes Avatar
    Alexandre Pontes

    It can almost photograph a fart in the middle of the crowd.

  4. Freelance cameraman China/HK Avatar
    Freelance cameraman China/HK

    I really wonder what could be the usage of such in China?
    .
    No

  5. Em Bee Avatar
    Em Bee

    U mean six Chinese story !!!
    Poor Girl, no good in china.

  6. KCWang Avatar
    KCWang

    Don’t those Chinese all look the same?

  7. GoldenEgg Avatar
    GoldenEgg

    If you leave the privacy part then this camera is worth buying

    1. Rifki Syahputra Avatar
      Rifki Syahputra

      still worth it